Millions Join Iran President's Funeral Procession

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Tehran- Millions turned up to bid farewell to President Ebrahim Raeisi and his companions as funeral events began Tuesday in Iran with investigators looking into the helicopter crash that killed them late on Sunday and the country grappled with the shock of losing two of its most prominent leaders at a volatile moment.

Supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, has announced five days of mourning for the president Raisi, 63, and the foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, 60, who died when their helicopter plunged into a mountainous area near the Iranian city of Jolfa on Sunday. The state news media said the crash had resulted from a“technical failure.” Iran's Armed Forces said it had begun an investigation and sent a team to the site.


Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions and a series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East.

For Islamic Republic, mass demonstrations have been crucial since millions thronged the streets of Tehran to welcome Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 following the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and also attended his funeral 10 years later. Millions turned out in 2020 for processions for the late Revolutionary Guard Gen Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the US in a drone strike in Baghdad.

Live images from Iran broadcast worldwide showed massive crowds of mourners jostling to touch coffins of the dead leaders through the streets of Tabriz city and later in Qom, the religious capital of the country.

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A procession Tuesday morning led by a semi truck carrying the caskets of the dead slowly moved through the narrow streets of downtown Tabriz, the closest major city near the site of the crash Sunday. Thousands in black slowly walked beside the coffins, some throwing flowers up to them as an emcee wept through a loudspeaker for men he described as martyrs.

The caskets later arrived in Tehran to an honor guard at the airport and then went onward to the holy seminary city of Qom. There, a semi truck surrounded by soldiers in fatigues at one point was swarmed by a crowd of mourners. Some beat their chests and wailed. The truck later picked up speed while others stood alongside the road, watching.

The bodies will return to Tehran on Tuesday night for services Wednesday.

It remains unclear what international presence that funeral will draw, as Raisi faced US sanctions for his role while leading the country's judiciary in early days of revolution.

On Thursday, Raisi's hometown of Birjand will see a procession, followed by a funeral and burial at the Imam Reza shrine in the holy city of Mashhad, the only imam of the Shia faith buried in Iran.

That shrine has long been a center for pilgrims and sees millions visit each year. Over the centuries, its grounds have served as the final burial site for heroes in Persian history. It's an incredibly high, rare honor in the faith.

Iranian President Mohammad-Ali Rajai, the only other president to die in office when he was killed in a 1981 bombing, was buried in Tehran.

No cause has yet been offered by Iran's government for the crash, which took place in a foggy mountain range in a decades-old helicopter. Iranian presidents including Ahmadinejad and Abolhasan Banisadr both survived their own helicopter crashes while in office.

Iran's military, not its civil aviation authority, will investigate and later offer a report, authorities say.

Meanwhile Tuesday, Iran's new Assembly of Experts opened its first session after an election that decided the new assembly, a panel of which both Raisi and the late Tabriz Friday leader Mohammad Ali Ale-Heshem were members. A flower-ringed portrait sat on the seat Raisi would have occupied at the meeting of the 88-member panel, which is tasked with selecting the country's next supreme leader. Also attending was Iran's acting President Mohammad Mokhber.

The death of the foreign minister, Amir Abdollahian, also disrupts Iran's recent flurry of diplomacy with regional Arab countries to forge closer ties, manage the wider conflict with Israel and conduct indirect talks with the United States.

Mourning Continues In Kashmir

Syed Mohammad Burhan

Mourning ceremonies in Kashmir continued for the second day on Tuesday after the death of the Iranian president Sayid Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Amir Abdollahian.

On the second day, in Kashmir a large number of people took to streets to express condolences with the Iranian nation.

In Central Kashmir's Magam town a complete shutdown was observed to mourn the death of the Iranian leaders.

Shops and business establishments in Magam town remained shut while hundreds of mourners took out a mourning procession that passed through the streets and roads of Magam.

The mourners were carrying the photographs of the Iranian late president and Iran's Supreme leader. They raised slogans and appreciated the role of Raesi in raising Palestinian issue and defending the chastity of the Quran at the UN General Assembly last year.

“The Muslim world is sad about the death of a religious scholar. He was more than a President of a country but enemies should know that others will follow the way shown by our leader”, Said Tahira Najma, a mourner.

Afreena Ajiaz, another mourner said that she is part of the mourning event to pay tributes to the late leader.

“We are here to pay tributes to the Raesi who died serving his fellow humans”

Meanwhile, many Majalis were organized to pay tributes to the later leader.
Mourners participating in the day-long majlis and processions were reaffirming their faith and devotion towards the late President.

Earlier on Monday, many people in central and north Kashmir displayed their grief by hoisting black flags and banners. Mourning processions were held in Srinagar, Pattan and Budgam beside Ladakh to mourn the death of the Iranian leaders.

It is pertinent to mention, the helicopter crash of Iran's President comes as the Middle East remains on edge from the devastating Israeli war on Gaza resulting in an unprecedented Iranian attack on Israel just last month. Under President Raisi, Iran began building ties with neighboring Arab countries besides strengthening resistance against the US-Israeli alliance in the region.

Iran's military has ordered a probe into the cause of the crash. Former Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif has blamed US sanctions for the crash.

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