Accident with Iranian President Raisi's helicopter, he is fine and traveling to Tabriz

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter made a "hard landing" but he is fine and is traveling to the city of Tabriz in a motorcade, Iranian media reported.

Raisi traveled to the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan. State television said the incident occurred near Jolfa, a town on the border with Azerbaijan, about 600 km northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran.

State television reported that rescuers were trying to reach the site but were hampered by poor weather conditions in the area. Heavy rain and wind were reported.

Mehr Agency spread information that everything is fine with the head of state and he is traveling in a motorcade to Tabriz.

Raisi was in Azerbaijan earlier today to inaugurate a dam together with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. This is the third dam the two countries have built on the Arras River.

Various helicopters fly in Iran, but international sanctions make it difficult to get parts for them. The country's air force largely predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Raisi, 63, is a hardliner and previously headed the Islamic Republic's judiciary. He is considered a protégé of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and some analysts have suggested he could replace the 85-year-old leader after his death or retirement.

Raisi won Iran's 2021 presidential election, a vote that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic's history.

Raisi has been sanctioned by the US, in part for his involvement in the alleged mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the Iran-Iraq war.

Under Raisi, Iran is said to be enriching uranium almost to levels suitable for weapons of mass destruction and obstructing international inspections.

Iran has also armed Russia in its war against Ukraine, and launched a massive drone and missile attack on Israel during its war on the Gaza Strip.

Iran also continues to arm puppet groups in the Middle East, such as Yemen's Houthi rebels and Lebanon's Hezbollah. /BGNES