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Reactions pour in from around world to Iran president's helicopter incident

This grab taken from handout video footage released by the IRINN Iranian state television news network on May 19, 2024 shows Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi on board a helicopter in the Jolfa region of the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan.

Foreign governments have reacted to the news that a helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raeisi, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was involved in an accident over mountain terrain in northwestern Iran.

A helicopter carrying Raeisi, Amir-Abdollahian, East Azarbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, Friday Prayers leader of Tabriz city Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem and several other passengers made a hard landing in East Azarbaijan on Sunday.

The incident happened when the helicopter encountered difficulties and was forced to make a "hard landing."

President of the European Council Charles Michel reacted to reports about the incident on X, formerly Twitter.

"Following closely reports that the helicopter carrying the Iranian President and the foreign minister has been forced to land unexpectedly and their condition not yet clear," Michel said.

He added, "Together with EU member states and partners, we are monitoring the situation closely."

Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas Political Bureau, said the movement's thoughts are with the brotherly Iranian nation.

He prayed for the well-being of the Iranian president, foreign minister and others onboard the helicopter.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev also expressed deep concern over the reports about the incident that happened to his Iranian counterpart.

He voiced Baku's readiness to provide all forms of support in the rescue and research operation.

In a post on its X, Azerbaijan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is shocked by the news coming from Iran.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with President Raeisi, Minister Amir-Abdollahian and all others reported to be at the site," it added.

It emphasized that as rescue operations continue, Armenia, as a close and friendly neighbor of Iran, is ready to provide all necessary support.

A member of the Iraqi parliament, Hassan Salem, prayed for the well-being of the Iranian president and foreign minister.

The US State Department said it was “closely following reports of a possible hard landing of a helicopter in Iran carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister.”

It added: “We have no further comment at this time."

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also took to X to express his concerns about the incident and extend his good wishes to President Raeisi.

“Waiting with great anxiety for good news that all is well,” he wrote.

"Our prayers and best wishes are with President Raeisi and the entire Iranian nation.”

In a post on X, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said he was “deeply concerned” about the news of the crash and expressed his wishes for the Iranian president and foreign minister.

“My heartfelt prayers & good wishes for the well-being & safety of President Raeisi so that he may continue to serve the Iranian nation," he posted.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani also offered neighboring Iran help in search and rescue efforts.

Sudani “instructed the interior ministry, the Iraqi Red Crescent and other relevant authorities to offer the Islamic Republic of Iran the available resources to aid in the search for the Iranian president’s aircraft,” government spokesman Bassem al-Awadi said in a statement.

Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid also said on his X account that he has held a phone conversation with Iran's Ambassador to Baghdad Mohammad Kazem Al-e Sadeq to be informed about the latest developments surrounding the incident.

He expressed his country's support and readiness to provide all possible assistance in the search operation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his deep concern over reports regarding the Iranian president's helicopter crash.

"We stand in solidarity with the Iranian people in this hour of distress, and pray for the well-being of the President (Raeisi) and his entourage," he wrote.

Saudi Arabia expressed grave concern over the media reports regarding the accident that happened to a helicopter carrying the Iranian president and his accompanying delegation.

"At a time when we supplicate God Almighty to safeguard the president and those accompanying him with his protection and care, we reaffirm that Saudi Arabia stands by the sisterly Islamic Republic of Iran in these difficult circumstances,” the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

It announced Riyadh's readiness to provide "any assistance that the Iranian agencies needed."

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was "profoundly saddened" at news of the helicopter accident, and offered "all necessary support" to the search.

"We are following the incident closely, are in contact and coordination with the Iranian authorities and we are ready to provide all necessary support," Erdogan posted on X.

Syria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates expressed Damascus's full solidarity with Iran and prayed for the well-being of President Raeisi and his accompanying team.

In a statement, the ministry said Syria is following with great interest and concern reports about the incident and the ongoing research operation.

The ministry affirmed its confidence in the ability and wisdom of Iranian officials and people to overcome this difficult circumstance and its readiness to provide any possible assistance.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansar expressed his deep concern over the incident and prayed for the wellbeing of the Iranian president and his accompanying delegation.

He also announced the readiness of the Qatari government to assist in search and rescue operations.

Janez Lenarcic, the head of humanitarian aid and crisis management at the European Commission, said in a post on X that upon the Iranian request for assistance, the commission is activating a satellite mapping service given the helicopter accident.

Reactions from Palestinian resistance groups

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement expressed concern over “the news of the incident that affected the helicopter.”

“In light of this painful incident, we express our full solidarity with our brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran, its people, leadership, and government,” Jihad said.

“We ask Allah Almighty to grant safety and well-being to the President and his aides, and to crown the search efforts for them with good news.”

The Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas said that they are “following with great interest and concern the news about the emergency landing of the helicopter carrying” President Raeisi, and FM Amir-Abdollahian, and their accompanying delegation in northwest Iran.  

“In this painful incident, we express our complete solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the leadership, government, and people, and we ask Allah Almighty for protection and peace for the Iranian President and his accompanying delegation, and to keep the brotherly Iranian people away from all harm and evil.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said in a statement that they are “following with great concern and interest the tragic incident.”

“The Front affirms its solidarity with the Iranian people and expresses its full support for the Islamic Republic of Iran—its leadership, government, and people. We stand by the Iranian people and their government, hoping that the efforts to find President Raeisi and his companions will be successful and that they return safely.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, expressed “sincere” gratitude towards the countries and international organizations that had either expressed solidarity with the Islamic Republic or offered to provide assistance following the incident.

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