Published: 09:34, May 21, 2024 | Updated: 10:20, May 21, 2024
Iran to hold presidential election on June 28
By Xinhua
People mourn victims of the helicopter crash near Varzaqan County, in Tehran, Iran, on May 20, 2024. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and some members of his accompanying team, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, were confirmed dead Monday morning as the wreckage of the helicopter carrying them was found following its crash in bad weather on Sunday near Varzaqan County. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

TEHRAN/UNITED NATIONS/CAIRO - Iran's government decided on Monday that the country's 14th presidential election would be held on June 28, the official news agency IRNA reported.

The election date was determined in a meeting attended by Iran's First Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber, currently assuming the presidency, Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, as well as Vice-President for Legal Affairs Mohammad Dehqan and representatives of the Iranian Constitutional Council and Interior Ministry, the report said.

According to Article 131 of Iran's Constitution, the first vice-president will take the helm of the executive branch if the president is unable to perform duties

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and some members of his accompanying team, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, were confirmed dead Monday morning as the wreckage of the helicopter carrying them was found following its crash in bad weather on Sunday near Varzaqan County, some 670 km away from Tehran.

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According to Article 131 of Iran's Constitution, the first vice-president will take the helm of the executive branch if the president is unable to perform duties. Also, the interim president is duty-bound to make arrangements for the election of a new president within a maximum of 50 days.

During the meeting, the participants also set the schedule for the election processes, including the formation of executive delegations, the registration of candidates, and the launch of electoral campaigns, according to IRNA.

Based on the schedule, the registration would be conducted from May 30 to June 3, following which candidates would have to conduct electoral campaigns from June 12 to 27, the report said.

According to IRNA, the Constitutional Council has initially consented to the schedule.

A woman mourns victims of the helicopter crash near Varzaqan County, in Tehran, Iran, on May 20, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Iranian Vice-President for Executive Affairs Mohsen Mansouri said on Monday that the body of President Raisi would be buried on Thursday in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

He made the remarks while elaborating on the planned measures for the holding of the mourning ceremonies of Raisi and members of his accompanying team, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency.

He noted that in view of the frequent requests by people in different provinces for attending the mourning ceremonies, the Iranian Education Ministry had canceled all students' exams from Tuesday to Friday, adding nationwide closure had been announced for Wednesday to better hold the mourning ceremonies.

The funeral ceremonies would be held for Raisi in Tabriz, Qom, the capital Tehran, Birjand and Mashhad from Tuesday to Thursday, and the president's body would be buried in the holy shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad on Thursday night.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Monday declared five days of national mourning over the incident, according to a statement published on his website.

Also on Monday, members of the UN Security Council observed a minute of silence to mourn the deaths of Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and other passengers in Sunday's helicopter crash.

At the beginning of a Security Council meeting on Monday morning, Mozambique's UN ambassador Pedro Comissario Afonso, who chaired the meeting, asked all those present in the Security Council chamber to stand and observe a minute of silence for the tragic loss of life and to present condolences and sympathy to their families and to the people of Iran.

He said the minute of silence was requested by Russia, China, and Algeria. 

Rescue team members carry the body of a victim at the crash site of a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Varzaghan, in northwestern Iran, on May 20, 2024. (PHOTO / MOJ NEWS AGENCY / AFP)

Meanwhile, leaders across Middle Eastern countries on Monday offered their condolences to Iran over the deaths of Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and members of the accompanying team in a helicopter crash a day earlier.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said on his X account that "I offer my condolences to the Iranian people on the death of Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and other officials following the tragic plane accident."

Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi expressed condolences, emphasizing the council's solidarity with the Iranian government and people in the hard times, reported the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud sent condolences to Iran's Mokhber on the deaths of Raisi and some members of his accompanying delegation, said a statement carried by SPA.

Türkiye "stands by Iran in these painful days" and "shares grief of Iranian people," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Mokhber in a phone call on Monday, Erdogan's office said in a statement.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi extended his sincere condolences to the people of Iran, expressing the solidarity of Egypt with the leadership and people of Iran during this tragic time, the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement.

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President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed in a message "sincere condolences and deep sympathy to Iran, its leadership and people over the painful accident," saying his country "stands in solidarity with Iran at this difficult time."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in a message, highlighted Syria's solidarity with Iran and the families of the deceased, expressing his commitment to continuing the work initiated by Raisi to benefit both nations.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune expressed his "deep sorrow and solidarity" with the Iranian people during "this difficult time," lamenting "the loss of my brother and partner Ebrahim Raisi, with whom I was united in serving the bonds of brotherhood, cooperation, and solidarity between our two countries and peoples, and in supporting just causes."

Chairman of Sudan's Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Monday eulogized Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and those who died in a helicopter crash, the sovereign council said in a statement.

In addition, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid, Tunisia's Presidency, the Libyan Foreign Ministry as well as Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants also extended condolences to the Iranian government and people.

The crash occurred on Sunday in Iran's Varzaqan County as Raisi, along with his accompanying team on board three helicopters, was on his way from Khoda Afarin County, where he attended the inauguration ceremony of a storage dam with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev earlier in the day, to the provincial capital Tabriz for the inauguration of a petrochemical complex.

The other members onboard Raisi's helicopter, including East Azerbaijan's Governor Malek Rahmati, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's Representative to East Azerbaijan Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, Raisi's bodyguard, as well as the flight crew, also lost their lives.