Rescue team members works following at the scene. of a crash of the helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, in Varzaqan, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran, May 20. via WANA

Iranian President’s Helicopter ‘Completely Exploded’, Search Team Says

Tuesday, 05/21/2024

A team of search and rescue motorcyclists from the operation to find Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, have revealed that the wreckage of the helicopter was "completely exploded and everything was burned." 

They also reported finding the bodies of Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian close together but were barred from publishing any videos for "security reasons."

The search operation, which lasted over 15 hours, only concluded successfully with the aid of a night-vision drone provided by Turkey. The long delay in locating the helicopter, which also carried six others, intensified criticism of the Iranian government's efficiency, even in handling crises involving its top leaders.

Speculation about the cause of the crash is rampant, with theories ranging from an outlandish plot by Israel to more credible possibilities such as severe weather conditions.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's former foreign minister, controversially attributed the crash to US sanctions that restrict Iran’s access to essential aviation parts. In a Monday interview, Zarif stated, "One of the culprits behind the tragedy is the United States."

The helicopter, a 1970s-era US Bell chopper, had been in service since the monarchy, later confiscated by the government for official use. Observers point out that despite Iran's strong ties with nations like Russia and China, the regime has failed to modernize or adequately maintain its aviation fleet, raising questions about the true state of its domestic military and governmental transport capabilities.

The issue comes while Iran continues to fund billions of dollars to proxies around the region including arming and training Yemen’s Houthis and Lebanon’s Hezbollah with state-of-the-art missiles.

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