Iranian President Raisi buried in eastern city of Mashhad

Iranian President Raisi buried in eastern city of Mashhad
Raisi, never popular in life has finally seen large crowds come out for him. / bne IntelliNews
By bne Tehran bureau May 23, 2024

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been buried in the Islamic shrine of Imam Reza in the eastern city of Mashhad on May 23. 

Raisi and his entourage died on May 19 in a helicopter crash on their way back from a provincial visit to East Azerbaijan. A funeral was held for him first in Tabriz, the closest city to where he lost his life. The cadre of officials later toured the city of Qom, the home of Iran’s clerical community, and later in the capital, Tehran, where Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed for him.

Theories are raging over whether Raisi's death was an accident or that foul play was at hand, with local outlets now suggesting that there could have been ulterior motives at play  One theory posits that the helicopter may have suffered a radar and navigation equipment failure, leading to loss of control and subsequent crash. This scenario, too, could imply external interference.

Despite the conversations over how he died, thousands of Iranians later bid farewell to the late president in the eastern city of Birjand, a city in South Khorasan Province, some 380 kilometres from Mashhad. Raisi was very popular in Birjand and represented the city in the Assembly of Experts of the Leadership, a deliberative body in charge of appointing, dismissing and supervising the performance of Iran’s supreme leader, whose members are elected by direct public vote.

In the latest elections in March, he was unrivalled and stood as the only candidate, which raised criticism at the time.

Raisi ascended to power in 2021 following an election that recorded the nation's lowest voter turnout, with statistics indicating that only 48.8% of eligible voters participated. Raisi is blamed by many for the mass executions of the new regime's opponents in the 1980s when he was given the role of a judge without training.

Burial ceremonies were held simultaneously for Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in Abdolazim Shrine in Tehran and Ayatollah Mohammad Al-e Hashem in Tabriz. Two pilots who died alongside the president were also buried in their hometowns the same day.

Officials from several countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, have arrived in Mashhad to attend the President's funeral ceremony, according to the Deputy of Development and Human Resources Management of Khorasan Razavi Governorate.

Representatives from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Nations, who have active consulates and offices in Mashhad, are attending the event, as confirmed by the Foreign Ministry's representative office in the city.

Among the notable attendees is Salim Haqqani, head of the Kabul region in Afghanistan's Ministry of Natural Disaster Management. Also present are Seyyed Ammar Hakim, leader of Iraq's National Wisdom Movement, and Brigadier General Ali Hamdani, a representative of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Shaabi).

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