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Ayatollah Khamenei prays for safe return of President Raeisi after helicopter incident

File photo shows Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (L) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has urged the Iranian nation to offer their prayers for the safety of the country’s President Ebrahim Raeisi after the helicopter carrying the chief executive had to make a hard landing in a mountainous region in northwestern Iran.

"We hope that the Almighty God returns the respected and esteemed President and his companions to the embrace of the nation," Ayatollah Khamenei said on Sunday.

The Leader urged all Iranians to pray for the health and safety of President Raeisi and other public servants on board the helicopter.

"The Iranian nation should not be worried or anxious, there will be no disruption to the work of the country," he said.

The helicopter was transporting President Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several other officials when it encountered difficulties and was forced to make a "hard landing."

The incident happened at Dizmar forest, between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa. President Raeisi was returning from a ceremony to inaugurate a dam on the Aras River with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

An extensive search and rescue operation is underway to locate the site of the incident. Harsh weather conditions and the region's rugged terrain are hampering the rescue efforts.

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