World reacts to the death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi

‘It wasn’t us!’, declares Israel as condolences pour in from around the globe following the news of Raisi’s death.

President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran June 18, 2021 [File: Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters]Published On 20 May 202420 May 2024

World leaders have expressed their condolences on the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

Rescue teams began searching for Raisi on Sunday afternoon after his aircraft, which also carried nine other officials, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, went missing in Iran’s mountainous northwestern region near the Azerbaijan border.

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On Monday morning, relief workers located the missing helicopter. State TV reported that the president’s body and that of the others on board had been identified.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will now need to move quickly to replace the country’s leadership, with Tehran navigating heightened tensions in the Middle East and the risk of open conflict with Israel.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has sparked lower-level conflicts with Iran-backed groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. Last month, Iran and Israel swapped direct strikes at one another.

Reacting after the confirmation of Raisi’s death, an Israeli official told the Reuters news agency that Israel was not involved.

“It wasn’t us,” declared the unnamed official.

Here are some other reactions to the president’s death from across the world:

Hamas

The Palestinian group conveyed its “deepest condolences and solidarity to Khamenei, the government and the Iranian people for “this immense loss”.

It praised Raisi and Amirabollahian for supporting Palestine against Israel and expressed confidence that Iran’s “deep-rooted institutions” will overcome “the repercussions of this great loss”.

Yemen’s Houthis

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, expressed his “deepest condolences” to the Iranian people and the families of the officials who died in the crash.

Al-Houthi added his certainty that Iran would continue “adhering to the loyal leaders of their people, by God’s will”.

Iraq

“We express our solidarity with the brotherly Iranian people and the officials of the Islamic Republic during this painful tragedy,” Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani said in a statement.

Pakistan

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declared a day of mourning in Pakistan.

“May the martyred souls rest in heavenly peace. The great Iranian nation will overcome this tragedy with customary courage,” Sharif wrote on X.

Qatar

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani expressed his condolences to the people of Iran.

“Asking God Almighty for mercy and forgiveness for [those killed] and for their families with patience and solace. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return,” he wrote on X.

Russia

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed condolences over the death of two top officials he called “reliable friends” of Russia.

“Their role in strengthening mutually beneficial Russian-Iranian cooperation and trusting partnership is invaluable,” Lavrov said.

“We sincerely extend our condolences to the families and friends of the victims, as well as to the entire friendly people of Iran. Our thoughts and hearts are with you in this sad hour.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabollahian, in Moscow, March 29, 2023 [Yury Kochetkov/Pool via AP]

President Vladimir Putin joined Lavrov in offering Tehran condolences.

“Raisi was an outstanding politician whose entire life was dedicated to serving his homeland,” Putin said in a letter to Khamenei, published on the Kremlin’s website.

“As a true friend of Russia, he made an invaluable personal contribution to the development of good-neighbourly relations between our countries, and made great efforts to take them to the level of a strategic partnership,” he added.

India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by Raisi’s death.

“His contribution to strengthening the India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow,” Modi wrote on X.

China

President Xi Jinping called the “tragic death” of Raisi “a great loss to the Iranian people and the Chinese people have lost a good friend”, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Malaysia

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he was “deeply saddened” by the news, noting that he had the “honour” of meeting Raisi last November.

“His dedication to justice, peace, and the upliftment of the ummah [the Islamic community] was truly inspiring. We committed ourselves to bolstering Malaysia-Iran relations, working together for the betterment of our peoples and the Muslim world. Our pledge will be fulfilled,” Ibrahim said.

Turkey

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan expressed condolences and said Ankara had been in contact with Iran since hearing about the crash on Sunday.

He said Turkey’s relevant institutions, including the defence ministry and the disaster management authority, tried “their best but unfortunately, we weren’t able to hear good news,” he told a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart, Ishaq Dar, in Islamabad.

European Union

President of the European Council, Charles Michel, expressed the bloc’s “sincere condolences” for the death of Raisi, Amirabollahian and the other Iranian officials who died in the crash.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies