Vladimir Putin vowed during an emergency meeting to do “whatever is necessary,” as reports emerged of the Iranian president’s fatal helicopter crash, Tehran’s envoy to Moscow has told.

Russia’s president met with Iranian ambassador Kazem Jalali late on Sunday, state media reported, after reports emerged a helicopter transporting President Ebrahim Raisi, 63, had crashed in heavy fog over mountains in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

All aboard, including Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, 60, are feared dead.

“Mr. Putin first addressed me and told that we were very saddened by the Iran president’s helicopter accident and we will do whatever is necessary to help,” Jalali told Islamic Republic News Agency, the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in a report published early hours Monday.
The Context

Russia and Iran have deepened their ties since the start of Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Tehran has supplied Moscow’s forces with Shahed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) throughout the conflict.

What We Know

Early on Monday morning local time, Turkish authorities released footage from a drone it provided which identified a thermal signal that they “suspected to be wreckage of helicopter.”

An unnamed senior Iranian official told Reuters that the Bell 212 helicopter carrying Iran’s president and foreign minister was completely burnt in the crash on Sunday.

“President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” the official said.

The aircraft was also carrying Tabriz Friday prayers leader Ayatollah Mohammed Ali Ale-Hashem, East Azerbaijan Governor-General Malek Rahmati and an unspecified number of guards and crew members.

The Russian leader said the Kremlin was “very worried and upset,” Jalali said of his meeting with Putin. “Be sure to convey my message to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution that we are ready to do whatever is necessary,” Jalali quoted Putin.

Russia has said it prepared two aircraft, 50 personnel and equipment to help.

The meeting was also attended by Russia’s newly appointed defense minister, Andrey Belousov; Secretary of the National Security Council Sergei Shoigu; Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov; Minister of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Alexander Korenkov; special assistant to the president, Igor Levitin, and a senior official of the Federal Security Organization, Jalali noted.


Anton Gerashchenko, a former adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, said he believes Putin was “terrified” by the news of the helicopter crash.

“Raisi going missing can mean serious problems in carrying out the agreements between the two countries, including weapons and drone supplies,” said Gerashchenko in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “There have been reports that the deal on drones was made personally by Raisi and his people from Iranian side, and Shoigu from the Russian side.”

“[Putin] is known for his paranoia. And he surely sees the situation through his own fears. His paranoiac tendencies are well known—he has self-isolated for months during the pandemic, he is guarded better than virtually any other politician,” he added. “Consequently, this fear might well lead to Putin becoming even more closed-off and intensifying the search for ‘conspiracies’ around him.”

The Kremlin on Monday published a statement from Putin expressing his “deepest condolences” to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi made “an invaluable personal contribution to the development of good neighborly relations between our countries and made great efforts to bring them to the level of strategic partnership,” he said.

“I had the opportunity to meet Seyed Ebrahim Raisi several times, and I will forever retain the fondest memory of this wonderful man,” Putin added.
What’s Next?

Iran’s three branches of government held an extraordinary meeting on Monday, with First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, 68, representing the executive branch, local media reported.

In line with the Islamic Republic’s constitution, if a president dies in office, the first vice president assumes the position of president for an interim period of 50 days if given the green light from the supreme leader. A presidential election is to be organized following this period.

Source » arabcenterdc