NewsIran mourns president and foreign minister after fatal crash

Iran mourns president and foreign minister after fatal crash

Thousands of people bid farewell to President Ebrahim Raisi
Thousands of people bid farewell to President Ebrahim Raisi
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/STRINGER

1:17 PM EDT, May 21, 2024

On Tuesday in Tabriz, Iran, funeral ceremonies began for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The politicians died on Sunday in a tragic helicopter crash. Thousands of people took to the streets to bid farewell to the president.

The ceremonies commenced with thousands moving through the streets of Tabriz. The bodies of both politicians will then be transported to the city of Qom, which is sacred to Shia Muslims. From there, the coffins will be taken to the capital city of Tehran.

A sea of people in the streets of Tabriz
A sea of people in the streets of Tabriz© PAP | PAP/EPA/STRINGER

Funeral ceremonies will last several days

A funeral procession will take place in Tehran on Wednesday. Iran's highest spiritual and political leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will lead it. Subsequently, on Thursday, President Raisi's body will be buried in Mashhad, his hometown. The burial site is the Imam Reza shrine, an important sanctuary that attracts numerous religious pilgrims.

However, it is uncertain whether the funeral of the president and the foreign minister will draw as many participants as seen during the funeral of General Qasem Soleimani. The commander of the elite Al-Quds unit gained immense recognition among the public, and his funeral gathered approximately one million mourners.

Extreme views on Raisi

While Shia Islam and the Iranian government's policies are popular in the provinces, residents of the capital have a completely different opinion on the president and his actions, notes the AP agency. On Sunday evening, when news of the helicopter crash arrived, anti-government slogans could be heard from some windows in Tehran. Fireworks were set off in some places, and harsh criticisms of the deceased politicians appeared online.

President Raisi, called by his opponents the "Butcher of Tehran", was one of four judges who sat on secret tribunals in 1988, known as "death commissions." These tribunals judged members of the political opposition and issued mass death sentences.

The chief prosecutor of Iran has issued an order to initiate proceedings against individuals who publish "false information and insults" aimed at Raisi - reports the Iranian ISNA agency.

Due to the death of the president and the foreign minister, the authorities in Iran have declared a five-day national mourning period.

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