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Iranian president and foreign minister killed in helicopter crash

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There’s no indication that this was anything other than an accident. Yashar Ali:

Ebrahim Raisi, the President of the Islamic Republic in Iran, has been killed in a helicopter crash. He was 64 years old.

Raisi, known as the “butcher of Tehran,” helped to oversee the mass execution of political prisoners in the late 1980s after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering it. As President, he personally oversaw an escalation of enforcement of the hijab law and a significant increase in state repression against the people of Iran.

Islamic Republic state media aired drone footage of his helicopter’s crash site showed that the cabin of the helicopter had been burned in the crash and that the bodies of the occupants were cold and lifeless.

State media also published a video of the helicopter crash site directly which revealed an incinerated fuselage.

This comes at a time of increasingly open political dissent in Iran.

 Iran’s hardline leadership has weathered an explosion of recent popular dissent on the streets at home where years of US-led sanctions have hit hard.

The country was convulsed by youth-led demonstrations against clerical rule and worsening economic conditions following the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s notorious morality police.

Iranian authorities have since launched a widening crackdown on dissent in response to the protests.

That crackdown has led to human rights violations, some of which amount to “crimes against humanity,” according to a United Nations report released in March.

And while the protests for now have largely stopped, opposition to clerical leadership remains deeply entrenched among many Iranians, especially the young, who yearn for reform, jobs and a move away from stifling religious rule.

A former hardline judiciary chief with his own brutal human rights record, Raisi was elected president in 2021 in a vote that was heavily engineered by the Islamic Republic’s political elite so that he would run virtually uncontested.

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