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Funeral procession for late Iranian president begins in Tabriz city

The first of several funeral ceremonies began in Iran for president Ebrahim Raisi, foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other victims of Sundays helicopter crash.

Agencies and A News MIDDLE EAST
Published May 21,2024
Iranian mourners touch the coffins as they pay their respects to late president Ebrahim Raisi and his aides during a funeral procession in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, 21 May 2024. (EPA Photo)

The funeral procession for late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials who died in a helicopter crash started Tuesday in the northwestern city of Tabriz.

Tens of thousands of Iranians, including senior officials and military commanders, gathered in the city's Martyrs Square to witness the funeral rites of the country's late president and other officials who died in the incident.

Their bodies will be flown later in the day to the central Iranian city of Qom, which is home to one of the revered shrines and religious seminaries where Raisi studied.

Following the second funeral in Qom, they will be brought to the capital Tehran, where Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is expected to lead congregational funeral prayers for them.

On Thursday, according to the itinerary, Raisi will be taken to his hometown of Mashhad for burial at the revered shrine of Imam Reza.

Raisi, the 8th Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, served as the custodian of the Imam Reza shrine for several years before becoming the country's judiciary chief in 2019 and president in 2021.

After a nightlong search operation hampered by bad weather, Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and other top officials were declared dead on Monday morning.

Dozens of emergency rescue teams were dispatched to the mountainous area in East Azerbaijan province, where the accident occurred Sunday afternoon.

According to the Iranian Constitution, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will assume powers of the presidency until new elections are held.