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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for prayers after a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed in the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan. The helicopter was also carrying Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, among others. Khamenei expressed hope for their safe return and urged the nation to pray for their well-being. State-run media urged the public to pray and reassured citizens that the country’s administration would not be disrupted by the incident.

The exact location of the crash is unconfirmed, with reports initially placing it near the town of Jolfa. Raisi’s helicopter was part of a convoy with two other helicopters. Dozens of rescue teams have been deployed to the area, including drones and sniffer dogs, to search for the officials. Bad weather conditions and nightfall have made the rescue mission challenging. The Iranian Red Crescent Society and Foreign Ministry have been contacted for updates. The European Union, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have offered assistance in the rescue efforts.

Khamenei reiterated his call for prayers on his social media accounts, both in English and Farsi, reassuring the nation that the country would continue to operate despite the incident. Raisi, who was in Azerbaijan to inaugurate a dam, has received messages of support from various world leaders, including Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Aliyev offered prayers and assistance to Iran, highlighting the strong ties between the two countries. Various countries, including Turkey, have expressed readiness to support Iran in the search and rescue operation.

The U.S. State Department is closely monitoring the situation, and the EU has offered emergency satellite mapping technology to aid in the search efforts. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also extended their assistance. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the crash and the fate of the officials on board, efforts are ongoing to locate and rescue them. The incident has garnered international attention and solidarity from neighboring countries, highlighting the importance of cooperation and support in times of crisis.

The Iranian government-controlled media has been providing updates on the search and rescue operation, urging people to remain calm and hopeful during this challenging time. The crash of the helicopter has brought together nations in a show of solidarity and support for Iran. The focus remains on locating and ensuring the safety of the officials aboard the helicopter, as efforts continue to navigate the difficult terrain and weather conditions in the region. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of international cooperation and compassion in times of adversity.

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