TEHRAN: Iranians gather at Valiasr Square in central Tehran to mourn the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and seven others in a helicopter crash the previous day, on May 20, 2024. — AFP
TEHRAN: Iranians gather at Valiasr Square in central Tehran to mourn the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and seven others in a helicopter crash the previous day, on May 20, 2024. — AFP

Iran’s allies in ‘Axis of Resistance’ mourn Raisi

Leaders in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen voice solidarity with Iran over president’s death

BEIRUT: Iran-backed members of the “Axis of Resistance” against the Zionist entity and its allies expressed their condolences Monday after Tehran confirmed President Ebrahim Raisi had died in a helicopter crash.

Palestinian militant group Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Syrian government and Iraq-based armed groups all mourned the death of Raisi and eight others on Sunday.

Also, among those killed when the helicopter crashed into a remote mountainside in heavy fog was Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, known for his fierce anti-Zionist sentiment and skepticism of the West.

Hamas mourned Raisi as an “honorable supporter” and said it appreciated Raisi’s “support for the Palestinian resistance and tireless efforts in solidarity” with Palestinians since the start of the Zionist war in Gaza.

Hamas also praised Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian’s “intense political and diplomatic efforts to stop the Zionist aggression against our Palestinian people”.

Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group, which has traded deadly cross-border fire with the Zionist entity amid the war, praised Raisi as “a strong supporter, and a staunch defender of our causes ... and a protector of the resistance movements”. “Hezbollah in Lebanon extends its deepest condolences,” the group said in a statement, adding that it had known Raisi “closely for a long time”.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, a spokesperson for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, said on X that Raisi’s death was a loss “for the entire Islamic world and Palestine and Gaza”. Palestinians were “in dire need of the presence of such a president who continued to defend” their right to freedom, said the group, which has launched attacks against targets with alleged Zionist links in support of Palestinians.

Syrian ‘solidarity’

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad expressed solidarity with close ally Tehran, which has backed him during more than a decade of civil war. Assad “affirmed Syria’s solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran and with the families of the late deceased and his comrades,” the Syrian presidency said in a statement.

“We worked with the late President to ensure that strategic relations between Syria and Iran flourish always,” the statement added. Syria and Lebanon announced three official days of mourning. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani declared Tuesday a day of mourning and said that “we stand in solidarity with the Iranian people”. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest Shiite Muslim religious authority in Iraq, offered his condolences to the Iranian people and government “and especially the grieving families for this painful tragedy”.

Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces, or Hashed al-Shaabi, also expressed their sympathies, adding that Raisi had “always declared that Iraq and Iran are one people that cannot be separated”. The Hashed are an integral part of the official Iraqi security apparatus under the authority of the prime minister that also includes several pro-Iran armed factions.

Iraq’s powerful pro-Iran group Kataeb Hezbollah extended their condolences to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Revolutionary Guards and people. “The great Iranian people, who have overcome severe challenges and crises ... stand united today in the face of this calamity,” the group said.

Iraq’s al-Nujaba armed group praised Raisi’s role in “defending the Islamic nation’s causes, not only in the Islamic Republic but also for his support of the Iraqi people in the fight against the terrorist Daesh”, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, as well as his support for Gaza. Raisi was “one of the greatest supporters of the resistance path, and with his passing, the Islamic resistance has lost one of its pillars,” the group added. — AFP

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