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Iranian president and FM well remembered for competency and achievements

By JAN YUMUL and MIKE GU in Hong Kong | | Updated: 2024-05-20 20:03
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While the tragic demise of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash gripped the headlines, the duo have been notably remembered for their tireless dedication to their nation.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced on his X account, formerly Twitter his "deep sorrow and regret" for what he called the "bitter news of the martyrdom of the people's President, the competent, hard-working Haj Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi, and his esteemed entourage".

"Our honorable Raisi worked tirelessly. This bitter tragedy took place while he was serving the people. The entire period that this great, self-sacrificing man held various responsibilities, both during his presidency and before that, he was totally dedicated to serving the people and Islam nonstop," said Khamenei.

Khamenei said for Raisi, the well-being and satisfaction of the people, "which was a sign of God's satisfaction", took precedence over everything else, and the hurt he suffered due to the "ingratitude and taunts of some ill-wishers didn't deter him from his continuous efforts for progress and improvement".

The Supreme Leader also honored prominent figures such as the Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader, Hujjat al-Islam Ale-Hashem; "the diligent, active Foreign Minister, Mr. Amir-Abdollahian"; and other individuals who were accompanying them also passed away in this bitter tragedy.

Khamenei offered condolences to the nation and approved Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber to take over as interim president and to cooperate with the heads of the Iranian parliament and judiciary to prepare the ground for the election of a new president within the next 50 days as he announced a five-day mourning in Iran, local Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran's government cabinet has also appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani as the head of the international committee of Iran's Foreign Ministry, following the death Amir-Abdollahian, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported, citing Iran's Government Spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi's announcement.

The Islamic Republic of Iran's Guardian Council spokesman Hadi Tahan-Nazif had said that according to the Constitution, the vice-president would take over as interim president with the Supreme Leader's approval.

Elsewhere in broader Iranian circles, messages of support and sympathies continued to pour in. Raisi's predecessor, former President Hassan Rouhani expressed his grief on the "martyrdom of the president", the minister of foreign affairs, the Friday Prayer Imam of Tabriz, the governor of East Azerbaijan province, their security team, and the flight crew following a deadly helicopter crash incident, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Former presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mohammad Khatami also conveyed their condolences over the tragic incident.

After official confirmation of Raisi's demise, Iran's Vice President Mokhber held an emergency meeting where they discussed continued coordination between the three branches to solve the country's problems, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported on May 20. The meeting was attended by parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and Iranian judiciary chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i.

The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha, also offered heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the Government and people of Iran over the death of Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian and their accompanying delegation.

He "prayed to Allah to shower them with mercy and forgiveness, to admit them to paradise, and to grant their relatives the fortitude to bear the loss", according to a statement from the OIC.

Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian were confirmed dead on May 20 after hours of challenging search and rescue efforts amid bad weather in the northwestern East Azerbaijan province. The tragedy also claimed the lives of other Iranian officials, including, East Azarbaijan's Governor Malek Rahmati, and the Friday prayers leader Tabriz Mohammad Ali Ale-Hasehem, according to Iran's Mehr News Agency.

The news sent millions of Iranians in grief, as many of them had been praying for them overnight at holy sites and at home.

According to Article 131 of the Constitution of Iran, in case of death, dismissal, resignation, absence, or illness lasting longer than two months of the president, or when his term in office has ended and a new president has not been elected due to some impediments, or similar other circumstances, his vice-president shall assume, with the approval of the Leader, the powers and functions of the president.

And in case of the death of the vice-president, or other matters which prevent him from performing his duties, or when the president does not have a vice-president, the Supreme Leader shall appoint another person in his place.

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