Russia, Syria, Gulf countries, EU offer condolences to Iran over President Raisi death

Ahram Online , Monday 20 May 2024

Several countries announced Monday their condolences on the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, his Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and their delegation after the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in the north of the country on Sunday.

File Photo: Iran s President Ebrahim Raisi greets media representatives after a press conference in Tehran on August 29, 2023. AFP


Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister, who died in a helicopter crash, had been "true friends" of Moscow.

"In Russia, President Raisi and Foreign Minister (Hossein) Amir-Abdollahian were seen as true and reliable friends of our country," Lavrov said, describing them as "patriots ... who firmly defended the interests of their state and gave their lives in selfless service to the Motherland."

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad expressed solidarity Monday with close ally Tehran, which has backed him during years of war.

Al-Assad "affirmed Syria's solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran and with the families of the late deceased and his comrades," the Syrian presidency said in a statement, adding: "We worked with the late president to ensure that strategic relations between Syria and Iran flourish always."

Iran's Gulf neighbours the United Arab Emirates and Qatar mourned on Monday the deaths of President Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash.

The UAE, which has mended ties with Tehran after years of rift, "stands in solidarity with Iran at this difficult time," said Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

"I extend my deepest condolences to the Iranian government and people over the passing of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and those accompanying them following a tragic accident," Sheikh Mohammed posted on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

In another statement on X, Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani called the news "painful," offering his "sincere condolences to the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia voiced "great concern" after Iranian state media reported that a helicopter carrying Raisi had gone missing, offering to help with the response.

"We affirm that the Kingdom stands by the sisterly Islamic Republic of Iran in these difficult circumstances and its readiness to provide any assistance that the Iranian agencies need," the foreign ministry of the Gulf kingdom which restored relations in 2023 with Tehran after years of rupture said in a statement.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declared a day of mourning. 

"Pakistan will observe a day of mourning and the flag will fly at half mast as a mark of respect for President Raisi and his companions and in solidarity with Brotherly Iran," Sharif posted on X.

"I along with the government and people of Pakistan extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Iranian nation on this terrible loss," he added.

"The great Iranian nation will overcome this tragedy with customary courage," Sharif affirmed.

The Pakistani leader hosted Raisi in Islamabad for a three-day visit in April in a bid to mend ties between the neighbours after they traded deadly strikes earlier this year.

The European Union expressed on Monday its "sincere condolences" over the death of Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials in a helicopter crash.

"Our thoughts go to the families," EU Council President Charles Michel said in a statement.

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