Iran prepares to bury President Raisi

Iran's president will be buried in his hometown on Thursday, capping days of funerals after his death in a helicopter crash left the country without one of its highest-profile leaders.

The late president, Ebrahim Raisi, will be buried at the Imam Reza shrine in the northeastern city of Mashhad, one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam. Before that, his body had been flown from Tehran, the capital, to the eastern city of Birjand for a funeral procession. Photos and videos published by state media showed smaller crowds in Birjand than the tens of thousands who crowded the streets of Tehran a day earlier.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced five days of mourning after Raisi, 63, and the country's foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, 60, died along with five other people when the their helicopter crashed in a mountainous area near the Iranian city of Domenica Jolfa.

Ayatollah Khamenei led funeral prayers for Raisi and other victims of the crash on Wednesday before the coffins were carried through Tehran's crowded streets in a large-scale procession. A number of foreign dignitaries – including the leaders of two Iranian-backed militant groups, Hamas and Hezbollah – also came to pay their respects. Many had private meetings with the supreme leader, who visited Raisi's family at their home that night, according to state media.

Iranian authorities have sought to project stability following the collapse, stressing that the country's government will not be affected.

A hardline cleric who came of age during the country's Islamic revolution, Raisi was seen as a potential successor to 85-year-old Ayatollah Khamenei. His death requires new presidential elections – which the authorities have set for June 28 – and could also shift the dynamics around the choice of Ayatollah Khamenei's successor.

On Thursday morning, Mr. Raisi's family flew to Mashhad ahead of his burial, a state news agency reported. Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi is also said to have arrived in the holy city.

A separate ceremony for Mr. Amir Abdollahian was taking place in Tehran. He will be buried in the city on Thursday after a ceremony at the Foreign Ministry, according to state media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *