President Raisi burial draws thousands for farewell

Iranians flooded the streets on Thursday to bid farewell to President Ebrahim Raisi, whose funeral procession marked the culmination of mourning following his tragic demise in a helicopter crash. Raisi, aged 63, lost his life last Sunday in a helicopter accident in Iran’s mountainous northwest, along with his foreign minister and six others, while returning from a dam inauguration.

In the eastern city of Birjand, thousands gathered, holding aloft portraits of Raisi and waving flags as they paid their respects. The late president will find his final resting place at the revered shrine of Imam Reza in the northeastern city of Mashhad, his birthplace, where preparations were underway for the concluding funeral rites, as seen in images released by Iranian media.

Throughout the streets of Mashhad, where emotions ran high, towering portraits of Raisi and Shia symbols adorned the landscape, attesting to the profound impact of his leadership. Similar scenes unfolded in Tehran, where a massive funeral procession drew crowds eager to honor the departed leader, hailed as a “martyr” by officials and media alike.

President Raisi burial

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei presided over the somber ceremonies, leading prayers for Raisi and the other crash victims. Among them, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will also be laid to rest on Thursday in a separate ceremony in Shahre-Rey.

Global dignitaries pay respects

Prominent dignitaries from across the globe, including Tunisian President Kais Saied and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, joined the mourning in Tehran, underscoring Raisi’s international stature. However, the absence of some European Union members was notable, while representatives from countries like Belarus and Serbia paid their respects.

As Iran grapples with the loss of its leader, Supreme Leader Khamenei has declared a five-day period of national mourning. Mohammad Mokhber, the vice president, has been appointed as caretaker president until the upcoming June 28 election, adding a layer of uncertainty to Iran’s political landscape.

Raisi’s presidency, which began in 2021, was marked by significant challenges, including economic turmoil exacerbated by US sanctions and heightened tensions with Israel. His unexpected passing has elicited condolences from allies and adversaries alike, reflecting the widespread impact of his tenure on the global stage.

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