close
HODEIDAH, YEMEN: In this photo taken on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, Salem, 5, who suffers from malnutrition, lies on a bed at a hospital. —AP
HODEIDAH, YEMEN: In this photo taken on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, Salem, 5, who suffers from malnutrition, lies on a bed at a hospital. —AP

Ravaged by conflict, Yemen's coast faces rising malnutrition - Lack of food and resources to blame

Funeral ceremonies for Iran’s president to continue until his burial Thursday evening

TEHRAN: Tens of thousands mourned Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday after his death in a helicopter crash, amid political uncertainty ahead of an election for his successor next month. Raisi and seven members of his entourage including foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were killed when their aircraft came down on a fog-shrouded mountainside in northern Iran on Sunday.

Waving Iranian flags and portraits of the late president, mourners marched in the northwestern city of Tabriz, where Raisi’s helicopter had been headed when it crashed.

Black-clad mourners beat their chests as they walked behind a lorry carrying the coffins of Raisi and those who died with him. “We, the members of the government, who had the honor to serve this beloved president, the hardworking president, pledge to our dear people and leader to follow the path of these martyrs,” Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a speech.

From Tabriz, Raisi’s body was taken to the Shiite clerical center of Qom later Tuesday before being moved to Tehran, where huge banners hailing him as “the martyr of service” have appeared around the city. In Qom, the procession moved toward the city’s main shrine of Massoumeh as mourners waved the Shiite red flag and the yellow flag of the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group. The official IRNA news agency said the funerals in Iran were attended by “hundreds of thousands” of people.

Contact with Raisi’s helicopter was lost in bad weather on the return flight to Tabriz after the inauguration of a joint dam project on Iran’s border with Azerbaijan, in a ceremony with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev. A huge search and rescue operation was launched, and state television announced his death early on Monday.

National mourning

Over pictures of Raisi and as a voice recited Quranic verses, the broadcaster said “the servant of the Iranian nation, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, has achieved the highest level of martyrdom”. As well as the president and foreign minister, provincial officials, members of Raisi’s security team and the helicopter crew all died in the crash.

Armed forces chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri ordered an investigation into the crash as Iranians nationwide mourned Raisi and his entourage. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital’s Valiasr Square on Monday. Iran’s highest security body, the Supreme National Security Council, said the “vast presence” of mourners at the funeral “guaranteed the stability and national security of the Islamic republic”.

On Tuesday, the Assembly of Experts, a key clerical body in charge of selecting or dismissing Iran’s supreme leader, held its first session since being elected in March, with the seat reserved for Raisi carrying his portrait. Raisi, who was widely expected to succeed current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had been a member of the body since 2006. Khamenei wields ultimate authority in Iran, and has declared five days of national mourning.

He has assigned Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, 68, as caretaker president until the June 28 election for Raisi’s successor. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri, who was Amir-Abdollahian’s deputy, has been named acting foreign minister.

Home town funeral

A ceremony for the crash victims was held in Tehran Tuesday ahead of processions in the capital on Wednesday morning before Khamenei leads prayers at a farewell ceremony. Countries including Turkey and Russia have announced they will send representatives to the funeral. Raisi’s body will be flown from Tehran to his home city of Mashhad in the northeast, where he will be buried on Thursday evening after funeral rites at the Imam Reza shrine.

Raisi, 63, was elected president in 2021. The ultra-conservative’s time in office saw mass protests, a deepening economic crisis and unprecedented armed exchanges with arch-enemy (the Zionist entity). Raisi succeeded the moderate Hassan Rouhani at a time when the economy was battered by US sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear activities.

Messages of condolence flooded in from Iran’s allies around the region, including Syria, Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, both of which are backed by Tehran.

In a speech just hours before his death, Raisi underlined Iran’s support for the Palestinians, a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Palestinian flags have flown alongside Iranian flags at ceremonies held for the late president. Tribute was also paid to Raisi by a China-led regional bloc on Tuesday. Envoys from Russia, China, India and Pakistan were among those who stood for a minute’s silence at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. — AFP

By Dr Firyal Alshalabi “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history,” is a saying often repeated nowadays. Some attribute it to the playwright and political critic George Bernard Shaw, others attribute it to the German philosopher o...
By Ahmad Albarjas With the increase in technological advancements and societal growth, Gen Z is expected to pave the way for the younger generation, Gen Alpha. However, the literacy rate among children in Kuwait tells another story. The fact that 51...