Iranian President’s Death in Helicopter Crash Throws Iranian Regime into Crisis

Table of Contents

Listen to this article


  • Iranian President and Foreign Minister Killed in Helicopter Crash near Azerbaijan
  • Khamenei Appoints VP Mokhber as Acting President, New Election in 50 Days
  • Iranian Citizens Celebrate President Raisi’s Helicopter Crash
  • Raisi’s Death Exposes Iranian Regime’s Crisis of Legitimacy Again
  • ICC Seeks Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu and Sinwar



  1. Iranian President and Foreign Minister Killed in Helicopter Crash near Azerbaijan

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and other senior officials died when their helicopter crashed in a remote mountainous area near Azerbaijan on Sunday. They were returning from inaugurating a dam at the Azerbaijan border. Raisi’s helicopter was one of a convoy of three that was returning from an event at the Azerbaijan border, and the aircraft apparently slammed into a mountainside in bad weather conditions of heavy rain and fog. Iranian rescuers took more than 16 hours to locate the crash site, where they found no survivors.

  1. Khamenei Appoints VP Mokhber as Acting President, New Election in 50 Days

Following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in a helicopter crash, Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei declared five days of national mourning and appointed First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as interim president. Mokhber will oversee presidential duties and, with the heads of the legislative and judicial authorities, organize new elections within 50 days. Mokhber, born in 1955, has held various significant positions, including Vice President and head of the Imam’s Implementation Committee. He holds doctorates in international law and administration. The Guardian Council has confirmed the election preparations and emphasized cooperation among branches to ensure service continuity.

  1. Iranian Citizens Celebrate President Raisi’s Helicopter Crash

Following the helicopter crash involving Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister, Iranians worldwide are celebrating. State media aired prayers for Raisi, but social media and videos obtained by Iran International showed celebratory fireworks and dancing. Raisi, known for his brutal role in the judicial system and oppressive policies, is widely despised for his association with economic mismanagement, corruption, and harsh censorship. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has increased its presence to prevent potential uprisings. Women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad dubbed the day “World Helicopter Day.” Victims of government repression, including protesters injured during the 2022 Woman-Life-Freedom uprisings, expressed their joy online. Some Iranians, mocking conspiracy theories, joked about Mossad’s involvement, with one widely shared joke naming the pilot “Eli Copter.” Overall, the reactions highlight Raisi’s unpopularity and the hope for change among many Iranians.

  1. Raisi’s Death Exposes Iranian Regime’s Crisis of Legitimacy Again

The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash has sparked significant concerns about Iran’s political future and succession. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is also facing health issues, had previously reassured the public about the continuity of the government. Raisi, seen as a loyal servant to Khamenei, was considered a potential successor. His death leaves a power vacuum, complicating the already tense situation due to recent anti-clerical protests and economic hardships. Key figures in the succession debate include Khamenei’s son Mojtaba, Parliament Speaker Muhammad Baqir Qalibaf, former President Hassan Rouhani, and judiciary head Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeh. The next 50 days are critical, with potential for unrest if Khamenei’s health deteriorates further before a new president is elected. The Assembly of Experts may play a crucial role in swiftly electing a new Supreme Leader, with Mojtaba Khamenei being a prominent candidate due to his strong ties with the IRGC and the security establishment.

  1. Iranian Government Says Raisi’s Death Will Not Disrupt its Work

The Iranian government said that the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash will not disrupt its operations. In a statement on Monday, the government assured the public that it will continue to function without any issues, emphasizing that the path of pride and service will persist. The incident has sparked discussions about the succession process, with Mohammad Mokhber being a candidate to succeed Raisi. The government said it remains committed to maintaining stability and continuing its administration without interruption.

  1. Ali Bagheri Kani appointed caretaker foreign minister

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani was appointed as caretaker foreign minister following the death of Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Sunday. Bagheri Kani, 56, was serving as Amir Abdollahian’s deputy for political affairs and acted as Iran’s chief negotiator for reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, though the talks came to a halt in September 2022. He was also part of the Iranian negotiating team handling the nuclear talks with the European trio – Germany, Britain and France – and the United States during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

  1. Iranian Economy Declined Under Raisi’s Tenure

Under President Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian economy faced extensive pressures due to ongoing U.S. sanctions, internal unrest, and external tensions. The Iranian rial suffered a sharp decline, hitting a low of 705,000 riyals per dollar, while inflation rates remained high, reaching 41.5% in 2023. Unemployment hovered around 9%, and economic growth slowed, with the IMF estimating a drop from 4.7% in 2023 to 3.3% in 2024. Despite these challenges, Raisi’s era saw some positive developments, including increased oil exports, the launch of major infrastructure projects, and a decrease in unemployment during the summer of 2023. Raisi’s efforts to stabilize relations with neighboring countries and fight corruption were notable but did not impress moderates and reformists.



  1. International Criminal Court Seeks Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu and Sinwar

The International Criminal Court has requested arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the October 7 attacks on Israel and the war in Gaza. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, in an interview with Christiane Amanpour, stated that warrants are also being sought for Israeli Security Minister Yoav Galant and two senior Hamas leaders, Muhammad Deif and Ismail Haniyeh. This is the first instance of the ICC targeting a close U.S. ally.

  1. Israeli Officials Deny Involvement in Crash that Killed Iranian President

Israeli officials deny any involvement in the crash, attributing it to severe weather near the Azerbaijani border. Senior Israeli officials believe Raisi’s death will not significantly impact Israel, as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes key decisions regarding Israel and the nuclear program. However, the leadership transition might encourage opposition within Iran and increase instability. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was informed of the incident during meetings in Israel, and President Biden reportedly cut his vacation short due to the emerging reports.

  1. Former IDF Intel Chiefs Discuss Potential Impact of Raisi’s Death

Ex-IDF intelligence chief Tamir Hayman stated that replacing Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, reportedly killed in a helicopter crash, would not significantly impact Iran-Israel relations. Hayman noted that Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, not the president, makes major decisions. Similarly, former IDF intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi Farkash emphasized Khamenei’s control. Despite Raisi’s prominence, the real strategic decisions rest with Khamenei, whose health and age make his potential successor a critical issue.

  1. Hamas and Hezbollah Mourn Iranian President Raisi

Hamas and Hezbollah expressed condolences over the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash. Raisi, along with other officials, died in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. Hamas praised Raisi for his support of Palestinian resistance and efforts against Israeli aggression, particularly during the recent Gaza conflict. Hezbollah eulogized Raisi as a defender of resistance movements. Raisi, elected in 2021 and known for his hardline stance and involvement in the 1988 executions of political prisoners, had consistently called for Israel’s destruction.

  1. Ireland to Recognize State of Palestine This Month

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris announced Ireland’s intention to recognize the State of Palestine during May. Speaking in London, Harris emphasized Ireland’s clear stance on Middle Eastern issues and called for an end to violence in Gaza. The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, confirmed that Spain will recognize Palestine on May 21, with other countries like Malta, Slovenia, and Ireland expected to follow. Currently, eight EU members already recognize Palestine, including Sweden, Poland, and Hungary. This initiative aims to support peace efforts in the Middle East.

  1. Iran’s Influence in Gaza War Threatens Jordan’s Stability

Jordan has thwarted a security plot linked to Iran, raising concerns about Tehran’s attempts to destabilize the Kingdom amid the Gaza conflict. Former Jordanian officials highlight Iran’s persistent efforts to expand its influence, exploiting regional unrest. Jordanian security forces intercepted weapons from Iran-backed factions in Syria intended for a cell linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Jordan’s security services are closely monitoring and countering any activities seen as part of a broader Iranian strategy to undermine regional stability.



  1. Iraqi Government Declares Day of Mourning for Iranian Leaders; Opposition Voices Criticism

Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani has extended his condolences to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. In his official statement, Al-Sudani expressed deep sympathy and solidarity. Iraq has also declared a day of national mourning on Tuesday to honor the deceased Iranian leaders. However, this gesture has sparked criticism from factions within Iraq that oppose Iranian influence. These groups have highlighted Raisi’s controversial past, particularly his role in the execution of over 50,000 Iranian citizens during his tenure as head of the judiciary. They also pointed to his support for the Hashd militia, which has been implicated in destabilizing activities within Iraq. One critic, speaking on condition of anonymity, remarked, “While it is a diplomatic necessity to offer condolences, we must not forget the oppressive legacy of Raisi and the negative impact of Iran’s policies on Iraq’s sovereignty and stability.” 

  1. German Ambassador Highlights Corruption Threat to Investment in Iraq

German Ambassador to Baghdad, Christiana Hohmann, reported that German companies in Iraq face blackmail and demands for illegal royalties, which jeopardize the investment environment. Although extortion has decreased since 2021, the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce warns of its potential resurgence and negative impact on government investment plans. The Iraqi government is working to create a secure environment for foreign investors, emphasizing infrastructure and services development. Meanwhile, the government continues to rely on German firms, especially in the electricity sector, to help revitalize the economy. The government has not disclosed details about the blackmail incidents, nor has the Integrity Commission received any reports from the German embassy.



  1. Iranian Ships Bypass UN Inspections, Arrive in Houthi-Controlled Hodeidah

Yemeni Defense Minister Mohsen Al-Daari announced that Iranian ships arrived in Hodeidah ports without undergoing the UN inspection mechanism. Al-Daari highlighted the threat posed by the Houthis to international navigation and regional stability. British UN representative Barbara Woodward noted a significant rise in uninspected ships entering Houthi ports, with reported violations involving 500 truckloads of uninspected materials since October 2023. 



  1. King Salman’s Health Issues Force MbS to Cancel Japan Visit

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has postponed his visit to Japan, initially set for May 20-23, due to King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s health problems. The 88-year-old King Salman is undergoing treatment for a lung infection. The Crown Prince was scheduled to meet Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. No new date for the visit has been announced. This marks the second time in less than a month that King Salman has undergone medical examinations, with recent reports indicating he suffers from a high temperature and joint pain.

  1. Oil Prices Surge After Raisi’s Death and King Salman’s Health Crisis

Oil prices rose following the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in a helicopter crash, along with the news that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman postponed his visit to Japan due to King Salman’s health issues. Brent crude reached $84.08 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude hit $80.01 per barrel. Despite regional volatility, the oil market remains stable, with OPEC+ set to meet on June 1. The US also recently purchased 3.3 million barrels of oil to refill its strategic reserve.

  1. Saudi Airlines Secures Largest Aircraft Deal in National Aviation History

Saudi Airlines announced a historic agreement to purchase 105 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft, marking the largest investment in Saudi aviation history. Director General Ibrahim Al-Omar revealed the deal during the Future of Aviation 2024 conference in Riyadh, emphasizing its alignment with the national strategy for the aviation sector. The first aircraft will be delivered in the first quarter of 2026, enhancing the fleet and air connectivity globally. This deal underscores Saudi Arabia’s superiority in the aviation industry, with plans to introduce innovative in-flight experiences and cutting-edge technology. The conference, highlighting $100 billion in investment opportunities, includes over 70 agreements worth $12 billion.

  1. Riyadh’s Nuclear Ambitions: Strategic Implications for the US

Saudi Arabia is pursuing a civilian nuclear agreement with the US, part of broader efforts to normalize relations with Israel and counterbalance Iran’s influence. The agreement, discussed during White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s visit to Saudi Arabia, aims to enhance Saudi’s renewable energy capacity in line with Vision 2030 and potentially position the Kingdom to acquire nuclear expertise. Washington hopes this deal will facilitate a broader Middle East peace strategy, including a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. The US seeks to bolster its strategic alliances in the region, enhance Israel’s security, and secure lucrative contracts for its nuclear energy sector, countering growing Chinese and Russian influence in the Gulf. However, the agreement faces obstacles, including congressional approval and the ongoing conflict in Gaza, complicating diplomatic normalization efforts.

  1. UAE Conditions Gaza Reconstruction Aid on Establishing Palestinian State

The UAE has expressed willingness to assist in Gaza’s reconstruction post-war, contingent on establishing a Palestinian state that includes Gaza and the West Bank. This vision was shared with Mansour Abbas, head of the Unified List, during his recent visit to the UAE. Officials noted that the UAE’s support hinges on forming a broad, non-political Palestinian technocratic government. The UAE’s frustration with the ongoing conflict and lack of a clear post-war plan from Israel was also highlighted. The Emirati vision emphasizes stopping the war, releasing kidnapped Israelis, and supporting economic projects in the Arab community once stability is restored.



  1. Syrians Rejoice at Death of Iranian President Raisi, Viewed as a War Criminal

Following the news of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash, Syrians both inside and outside the country expressed overwhelming joy. Raisi, seen as a war criminal by many Syrians, was deeply involved in supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which has been responsible for widespread atrocities during the Syrian civil war. Raisi’s tenure saw increased Iranian influence in Syria, including his historic visit to Damascus to bolster Assad’s government. While the Assad regime offered condolences, many Syrians celebrated Raisi’s death, viewing it as a symbolic victory against those who contributed to their suffering and displacement.

  1. Assad Offers Condolences Over Death of Iranian President

Syrian regime dictator Bashar al-Assad offered his condolences for the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation, who perished in a helicopter crash in northwestern Iran. Assad conveyed his “heartfelt condolences” to Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people, expressing deep regret for the loss. Despite his notorious record, Assad emphasized the strong strategic relations between Syria and Iran, recalling Raisi’s visit to Syria as a significant milestone. Assad’s Foreign Ministry expressed full solidarity with Iran and readiness to provide assistance.

  1. Coalition and SDF Arrest Two ISIS Suspects in Deir ez-Zor Operation

International Coalition forces, in coordination with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), conducted an operation in the village of Umm Gharba, Deir ez-Zor countryside, arresting two individuals, Abdulkarim Atwan Al-Ali and Muhammad Bashir Al-Darwish, on charges of belonging to ISIS. The detainees were transferred to the Coalition base in Al-Omar field. Following the arrests, SDF forces demolished the detainees’ house. This operation is part of ongoing efforts against ISIS, with similar recent operations in Dashisha and Al-Shaddadi, resulting in arrests and the seizure of weapons and ammunition. The US Central Command reported the arrest of 198 ISIS members and the killing of two others in Syria over the past month.

  1. Attacks Cause Casualties Among Assad Regime Forces and Iranian Militias

The Assad regime’s Ministry of Interior reported that an explosive device killed a policeman and injured an officer from the Homs Police Command. In a separate incident, unidentified gunmen killed a leader of an Iranian militia loyal to the regime in the Al-Bukamal desert. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights noted that regime forces and Iranian militias sent reinforcements to the Badia region to combat escalating ISIS attacks. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Al-Quds Brigade reported 18 members killed in an ISIS ambush in Homs. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the death of ISIS leader Amjad Hassan and the capture of two associates in operations supported by international coalition forces. Additionally, the Turkish Ministry of Defense reported the neutralization of five fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the People’s Protection Units in northern Syria.

  1. Where is the Electricity Crisis in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq Headed?

The electricity crisis in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq has reached alarming levels, with frequent power outages forcing large segments of the population to rely on alternative energy generators. Decades of wars, political turmoil, and corruption have crippled these countries’ economies and energy infrastructures. Syria faces severe fuel shortages, compounded by reduced Iranian oil supplies and the control of key oil fields by the Syrian Democratic Forces. In Lebanon, corruption and favoritism in the energy sector have led to increased reliance on expensive private generators. Iraq, despite its vast oil reserves, suffers from inefficiencies and corruption, causing a significant electricity deficit. Environmental and health risks are exacerbated by the widespread use of diesel generators, contributing to severe air pollution. Renewable energy remains underutilized, despite its potential to alleviate the crisis. The reliance on generators and alternative networks fills the supply gap only for those who can afford it, leaving many in darkness and perpetuating economic disparities.



  1. Hezbollah Targets Israeli Military Sites in Escalating Border Conflict

Lebanese Hezbollah announced it launched missile attacks on multiple Israeli military sites, including Ramia and Al-Malikiyah, destroying spy equipment and targeting a Hummer vehicle, resulting in casualties. Sirens were reported in northern Israel, including the Hula Plain and Upper Galilee. In response, Israel fired flare bombs over Metulla and Prime Minister Netanyahu planned a meeting with local leaders to discuss the security situation.

  1. Escalation on Southern Lebanon Border Results in Casualties

The conflict between Hezbollah and Israel intensified as Israeli bombing targeted Maroun al-Ras, resulting in two casualties and five injuries, likely Hezbollah members. Hezbollah responded by targeting Israeli soldiers with guided missiles and artillery, causing deaths and injuries. Notable incidents include targeting Israeli soldiers in Metulla and hitting the Al-Malikiyah site. Fires from phosphorus bombs also endangered homes in Mays al-Jabal. Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich reiterated the inevitability of war if Hezbollah does not withdraw from the border. The ongoing exchange of attacks raises concerns about a prolonged conflict.

  1. Lebanese Government Mourns and Praises Slain Iranian Leaders

Lebanese officials declared three days of mourning for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian following their deaths in a helicopter crash. Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati issued the directive, while prominent figures, including Jaafari Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Qablan and Major General Abbas Ibrahim, offered condolences. Hezbollah praised Raisi as a “protector of the resistance,” highlighting his support for anti-Israel groups and his long-standing relationship with the organization. The officials emphasized Iran’s historical support for Lebanon and its regional influence.

  1. Gunmen Attack Kataeb Party Headquarters in Beirut

Unknown assailants in an SUV opened fire on the Kataeb Party’s headquarters in Beirut’s Saifi area. Security agencies are investigating, reviewing surveillance footage, and working under the supervision of Judge Hani al-Hajjar. The Progressive Socialist Party condemned the attack, urging swift justice to prevent further security risks. MP Fouad Makhzoumi expressed solidarity with MP Sami Gemayel and the Kataeb Party, emphasizing the need to maintain civil peace and national unity.



  1. President Sisi Offers Condolences to Iran on Raisi’s Death

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt expressed his heartfelt condolences to the people of Iran following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a tragic accident on May 19, 2024. In his message, President Sisi conveyed deep sorrow and solidarity, praying for mercy on the deceased and offering comfort to their families. He emphasized Egypt’s support for the Iranian leadership and people during this difficult time.

  1. South Africa Praises Egypt’s Support in ICJ Case Against Israel

Zain Dangor, Director-General of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, praised Egypt’s decision to join South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice. He highlighted Egypt’s significance both regionally and globally, noting its crucial role in supporting Palestinian rights. During an interview on Channel One, Dangor added that Egypt’s involvement adds pressure on Israel and can help lead to the enforcement of ceasefire conditions. 

  1. Egypt Faces 55% Water Deficit, Says Minister at Water Forum

Dr. Hani Sweilem, Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, highlighted the country’s severe water scarcity at the Tenth World Water Forum in Indonesia. He emphasized that Egypt is among the driest nations, with minimal rainfall and heavy reliance on the Nile River for 98% of its renewable water. This critical situation, compounded by climate change, leaves Egypt with a water deficit of 55% of its needs. Agriculture, which sustains over 50% of Egyptians, consumes more than 75% of the water. The per capita share is nearing absolute scarcity at 500 cubic meters annually.

  1. European Banks Invest $12.9 Billion in Egypt

Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, told the “Towards a Sustainable Africa” conference that European banks have invested $12.9 billion in Egypt, supporting various sectors including green transformation and renewable energy. She also mentioned the upcoming investment conference with the European Union, which will create new opportunities and further development. 

  1. Egyptian Finance Minister: Suez Canal Revenues May Drop by 60%

Finance Minister Dr. Mohamed Maait announced that Suez Canal revenues are expected to decline by 60% due to Red Sea tensions. Speaking at a conference at Cairo University, Maait noted that while canal revenues are decreasing, public expenditures are rising due to higher financing costs and inflation, which has increased the import bill by $4 billion monthly. Spending on petroleum subsidies has also surged, nearing 200 billion pounds. Despite these challenges, Egypt is implementing corrective measures to mitigate the effects of global and regional crises, focusing on flexible policies and relying on the private sector to drive sustainable growth.

  1. Sudanese Parties Call for Agreement to End War and Establish Secular State

The “Nairobi Declaration,” signed under Kenyan President William Ruto’s auspices, aims to establish a secular state in Sudan, ensuring equal distance from all religions, cultures, and identities. The agreement was signed by former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, Sudan Liberation Movement leader Abdel Wahed Muhammad al-Nur, and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North leader Abdul Aziz Al-Hilu. It calls for ending the war, establishing civil rule with equal participation, and fair power and wealth sharing. The declaration also grants Sudanese groups the right to self-determination if there’s disagreement on these principles in the permanent constitution.



  1. Türkiye Deploys UAVs and Rescuers to Aid Iran After Presidential Helicopter Crash

Following the helicopter crash that resulted in the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Türkiye moved swiftly to assist the search and rescue operations. The Turkish Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) responded to Iran’s request by deploying a night-vision search and rescue helicopter, 32 rescuers, and six vehicles. Türkiye’s National Defense Ministry played a pivotal role by assigning an Akinci unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and a night-vision capable Cougar helicopter. The Akinci UAV identified a heat source early Monday, suspected to be the wreckage of the crashed helicopter. This advanced technology significantly aided the search teams working under challenging weather conditions in the mountainous terrain of East Azerbaijan province. Despite adverse weather conditions and difficult terrain, the coordinated efforts between Türkiye and Iran exemplify strong bilateral relations and international cooperation during crises. 


📌 In case you missed it,

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX  May 17, 2024


🔗 Follow the latest news from the American Center for Levant Studies via Google News


    Your Voice:

    Your Name

    Your Email

    Word File:

    To subscribe to our daily mailing list, fill out the following form:

    Scroll to Top

    To subscribe to our daily mailing list, fill out the following form: