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Thousands Mourn as Iranian President Raisi Laid to Rest

By Nigar Bayramli May 23, 2024

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A huge crowd of mourners attended the funeral in Birjand, the capital of South Khorasan Province. Raisi had his final funeral procession and was buried at Imam Reza Shrine in the holy city of Mashhad, his hometown. / MEHR News Agency

A large-scale funeral ceremony for the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was held in South Khorasan Province on May 23.

A huge crowd of mourners attended the funeral in Birjand, the capital of South Khorasan Province. Raisi had his final funeral procession and was buried at Imam Reza Shrine in the holy city of Mashhad, his hometown, according to the Mehr news agency.

The funeral ceremony for the late Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was held at the Foreign Ministry building in Tehran on the same day, and he was buried later at Shah Abdol-Azim Shrine in Tehran Province.

The Iranian president died in a helicopter crash on May 19 in a mountainous region of the country’s northwest, along with Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian, East Azerbaijan Province Governor General Malek Rahmati, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem (the supreme leader’s representative in East Azerbaijan Province), and Head of the President’s Guard Team Mehdi Mousavi. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led prayers over their bodies at the University of Tehran on May 22.

Over 90 high-ranking foreign officials arrived in Tehran to pay their respects to the late Iranian president and foreign minister. In addition to the foreign officials, representatives of Iran-backed proxies and groups across the region, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, and the Yemeni Houthi Movement attended the funeral ceremony.

Raisi, the eighth president of Iran, was en route to Tabriz City on May 19 after he inaugurated Qiz Qalasi and Khudafarin hydroelectric complexes at the border with Azerbaijan, where he had met his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev. Initial reports indicated that the helicopter carrying Raisi and his delegation experienced a “hard landing” in a remote region, while two other accompanying helicopters returned safely.

Based on the Iranian Constitution, the first vice-president assumes power with the approval of the Supreme Leader. A council, consisting of the parliament speaker, the judiciary chief, and the first vice-president, will arrange for a new presidential election within 50 days.

The snap presidential elections will be held on June 28. The registration of candidates will take place from May 30 to June 3. The campaigning period is from June 12 to June 27, according to the election calendar approved by senior officials.

The Iranian Supreme Leader appointed First Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber as the country’s acting president. Mokhber appointed Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Baqeri Kani as the acting foreign minister to replace Amir-Abdollahian.

Raisi, a hardliner politician, was long seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was elected president in 2021, and since taking office, he has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a crackdown on anti-government protests, and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.