Iran buries late president at shrine in Mashhad

Iran’s late president Ebrahim Raisi is being buried in his hometown of Mashhad, four days after his death in a helicopter crash.

The 63-year-old hardline cleric will be buried at the holy shrine of Imam Reza, a revered figure in Shiite Islam.

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

Seven other people died in Sunday’s crash during bad weather in Iran’s mountainous northwest.

Among them is Raisi’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who was buried Thursday at the shrine of Shah Abdolazim in Rey, a southern suburb of the capital, Tehran.

Ebrahim Raisi’s burial at the gold-domed Shrine of Imam Reza, a monument to the eighth Shiite imam considered Iran’s holiest, comes after days of ceremonies elsewhere.

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

They were received by Raisi’s former 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”, an informal network of armed groups that receive weapons, training and Iranian funds.

They included the political leader of the Iranian-backed Palestinian armed group Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, Naim Qassem, the spokesman for Yemen’s Houthis, Mohammed Abdulsalam, and the head of the Security Forces. Popular paramilitary mobilization of Iraq, Faleh. al-Fayad.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also led prayers for those killed.

Raisi was close to the 85-year-old, who is the top authority in the Islamic Republic, and was widely seen as a possible successor.

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

Tens of thousands of people have participated in funeral processions in recent days, which the government and state media have presented as demonstrations of national unity.

However, many more people stayed home, and some even celebrated the president’s death despite prosecutors warning they could face prosecution.

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

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

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

Iranian authorities say they are still investigating the cause of the helicopter crash in which he died.

Authorities have said the plane, a decades-old American-made Bell 212, crashed into a mountainside while flying toward the northwestern city of Tabriz in fog and heavy rain.

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

Leave a Comment