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Helicopter carrying Iran's president suffers a ‘hard landing,’ rescue is under way

A HELICOPTER carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” amid poor weather in rugged territory today, Iranian state media reported. 

Mr Raisi was travelling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the provincial governor and other officials.

Mr Raisi had visited the border with Azerbaijan earlier to inaugurate a dam, the third the two nations have built on the Aras river, with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The visit came despite chilly relations between the two nations.

Rescuers were attempting to reach the site, state TV said, but had been hampered by poor weather conditions. 

Mr Raisi is known as a religious hard-liner, seen as a protege of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a potential successor for his position within the country’s Shi’ite theocracy. 

In 2019 he was placed under sanctions from the United States and other nations over his involvement in the mass execution of prisoners in 1988.

Iran flies a variety of helicopters but sanctions make it difficult to obtain parts for them. Its military air fleet largely dates back to before the 1979 revolution.

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