Iranian President Raisi's helicopter encounters hard landing | What we know so far

Despite initial ambiguity surrounding the circumstances, it was disclosed that adverse weather conditions, including heavy rain and strong winds, complicated rescue efforts in the area.

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Satyam Singh
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi encountered a tense situation when the helicopter he was traveling in experienced a "hard landing," as reported by Iranian state television. The incident unfolded in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, near the city of Jolfa, close to the border with Azerbaijan. Despite initial ambiguity surrounding the circumstances, it was disclosed that adverse weather conditions, including heavy rain and strong winds, complicated rescue efforts in the area. Raisi's foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was also on board. 

Dam Inauguration in Azerbaijan


Earlier in the day, President Raisi had visited Azerbaijan to jointly inaugurate a dam on the Aras River alongside President Ilham Aliyev. This collaboration marked the third dam constructed by the two nations, signaling bilateral cooperation in infrastructural development.

Challenges amid sanctions

The incident sheds light on Iran's challenges in maintaining its air fleet due to international sanctions hindering access to crucial parts for helicopters. Notably, Iran's military aviation largely relies on outdated equipment predating the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

President Raisi, known for his hard-line stance and past leadership in Iran’s judiciary, has garnered attention as a potential successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader. His presidency, secured through the 2021 election, has drawn scrutiny, particularly from the United States, over his alleged involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988.

Geopolitical implications

Under Raisi's leadership, Iran has escalated tensions by advancing its uranium enrichment program and impeding international oversight. Moreover, the country's involvement in conflicts abroad, such as providing support to Russia in the Ukraine conflict and engaging in hostilities with Israel and Hamas, underscores Iran's regional influence and geopolitical maneuvers. Additionally, Iran's continued support for proxy groups across the Middle East, including Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon, underscores its role in regional dynamics.