Iran buries the late president at the shrine in Mashhad

The late President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, is being buried in his home city of Mashhad, four days after he died in a helicopter crash.

The 63-year-old hardline cleric will be laid to rest at the holy site of Imam Reza, a revered figure in Shia Islam.

Television images showed large crowds gathering on one of the northeastern city’s main streets before the ceremony.

Seven other people died in Sunday’s accident during bad weather in the mountains of northwestern Iran.

They include Raisi’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who was buried on Thursday at the Shah Abdolazim shrine in Rey, a southern suburb of Tehran.

Ebrahim Raisi’s burial at the golden-domed Imam Reza Shrine – a memorial to the eighth Shia leader, considered the holiest in Iran – came after days of ceremonies elsewhere.

On Wednesday, leaders and other officials from the country’s allies and neighbors attended a commemorative event in Tehran.

They were welcomed by former Raisi First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, 68, who will serve as acting president until elections are held on June 28.

Also present were representatives of the so-called “Axis of Resistance,” a loose network of armed groups that receive weapons, training and funding from Iran.

They include the political leader of the Iran-backed Palestinian armed group Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, deputy secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, Naim Qassem, spokesman for the Houthis in Yemen, Mohammed Abdulsalam, and the head of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, Faleh. al-Fayad.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also led prayers for those who died.

Raisi is close to the 85-year-old man, who is the supreme authority in the Islamic Republic and is seen by many as a potential successor.

Senior Western officials were notably absent from Wednesday’s ceremony, reflecting their countries’ strained relations with Iran.

Tens of thousands of people have attended funerals in recent days, in what the government and state media portrayed as a show of national unity.

However, more and more people stayed home, with some even celebrating the president’s death despite warnings from prosecutors that they could be prosecuted.

Millions despise Raisi for overseeing the deadly crackdown on the “Women, Life, Freedom” protests that erupted in 2022, a year after he took office.

He also faces calls for an international investigation into his alleged role in the “death penalty committee”, which ordered mass executions of political prisoners in the 1980s.

His presidency will also be remembered for deepening economic hardship and an unprecedented direct military confrontation with Israel last month, which raised fears of a regional war .

Iranian authorities said they were still investigating the cause of the helicopter crash that killed him.

Officials said the plane – a decades-old American-made Bell 212 – crashed into a mountainside while flying towards the northwestern city of Tabriz in fog and heavy rain.

Raisi was accompanied by Amir-Abdollahian, the governor of East Azerbaijan province, Malek Rahmati, and the leader of Tabriz’s Friday prayers, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem, as well as the head of the presidential security team and three pilots. crew of the helicopter after the inauguration of two dams on the border with Azerbaijan.


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