Funeral on Thursday: Hundreds of thousands of Iranians take part in funeral processions for Raisi

Funeral on Thursday
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians take part in funeral processions for Raisi

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Numerous people say goodbye to their injured president with several funeral processions in different cities. Ebrahim Raisi should be mourned for five days. Meanwhile, the chief of general staff of the Iranian army wants to have the helicopter crash investigated.

After the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, mourning ceremonies lasting several days have begun in Iran. According to state media, hundreds of thousands of supporters in Tabriz and Qom paid their last respects to the president. In Tabriz, the crowd followed a truck carrying the coffins of the crash victims. The president’s body is scheduled to be buried in his hometown of Mashchad on Thursday.

In Tabriz, many mourners waved Iranian flags and carried portraits of 63-year-old Raisi and other crash victims. Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Wahidi called the dead “martyrs” in a speech. Members of the Iranian government had the honor of “serving this beloved president, this hard-working president,” he said. In fact, Raisi was a hardliner and unpopular among the people because of the brutal suppression of mass protests in 2022 and the numerous death sentences he was responsible for.

Raisi crashed a helicopter over mountainous terrain in bad weather in northwestern Iran on his way to Tabriz on Sunday. Among the plane’s occupants were Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the head of Raisi’s security team and an imam. Her death was confirmed on Iranian state television on Monday after hours of searching and uncertainty.

More funeral processions planned

The Iranian army’s chief of general staff ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash, according to Iranian media reports. The government declared five days of national mourning. Tens of thousands of mourning supporters gathered in the capital Tehran on Monday.

After the funeral procession in Tabriz, Raisi’s body was flown on Tuesday to the Shiite pilgrimage site of Qom, where a funeral procession went to the shrine of Fatima Masuma. As the state news agency Irna reported, “hundreds of thousands” of people took part in the funeral ceremonies. Raisi’s body was supposed to be transported to Tehran in the evening. Another funeral procession is planned there for Wednesday. Raisi will be buried on Thursday.

After Raisi’s death, his previous deputy Mohammed Mochber was appointed interim president, and the previous chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri temporarily took over as foreign minister. June 28th was set as the date for the election of a new president.

Favorite to succeed Khamenei

On Tuesday, the so-called expert council made up of clergy, of which Raisi had been a member since 2006, also met for the first time since his election in March. Two seats were reserved for the president and Imam Mohammad Ali-Haschem, who also died in the crash. Raisi was one of the favorites to succeed Iran’s 85-year-old spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The ultra-conservative Raisi has been President of Iran since 2021. During his time in office, the country experienced mass protests. They were triggered by the death of the young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in September 2022, an economic crisis exacerbated by US sanctions and a dangerous confrontation with the declared arch-enemy Israel. Tehran fired hundreds of drones and rockets from its territory into Israel for the first time in April.

Numerous countries, as well as militant pro-Iranian groups such as the Islamist Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah, expressed their condolences on Monday. Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Raisi as an “outstanding” politician, and condolences also came from the USA, China and the EU.

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