Thousands gather to mourn Iranian president President Ebrahim Raisi

TEHRAN. – Thousands of Iranians have gathered on the streets of Tabriz to mourn President Ebrahim Raisi after he was killed in a helicopter crash.

Mourners followed a funeral procession through the city in north-west Iran while waving Iranian flags and portraits of the late president.

Mr Raisi and seven others were killed when a helicopter they were travelling in crashed in a mountainous area of Iran on Sunday.

On Tuesday crowds of mourners followed a lorry carrying the coffins of Mr Raisi and those who perished with him, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a speech: “We, the members of the government, who had the honour to serve this beloved president, the hardworking president, pledge to our dear people and leader to follow the path of these martyrs.”

From Tabriz, Raisi’s body will be flown to Qom, which is considered the second most sacred city in Iran after Mashhad. His body will then be moved to Iran’s capital Tehran.

Processions were held yesterday morning and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led prayers at a farewell ceremony.

Mr Raisi is then expected to be buried in his birthplace, Mashhad, today.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Mr Raisi was “a very reliable partner.”

“He was a man of his word and it was a pleasure to work with him,” Putin said at a meeting with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who will reportedly represent Russia at Mr Raisi’s funeral.

Mr Putin asked Volodin to convey to Iran’s leadership that he “will do everything to ensure that Russian-Iranian relations continue in this vein.”

He also said that Russia is ready to assist Iran in its investigation of Mr Raisi and other officials’ deaths in a helicopter crash on Monday.

State media has said elections will be held on 28 June to choose a new president. In the meantime, Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber has been appointed to assume interim duties. – Agencies

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