Iran official: Signal received from Raisi's helicopter, rescue teams en route

After hours of searching for helicopter carrying Iran president and foreign minister, which crashed on its way back from Azerbaijan, Tehran media reports breakthrough and 'hope for good news'; Khamenei reassures Iranians no disruptions to state affairs

Lior Ben-Ari|
Military teams are advancing to the exact location of the helicopter crash site where Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was aboard, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards in East Azerbaijan Province told the state news agency IRNA Sunday evening.
"A signal was received from the helicopter and the mobile phone of one of the crew members at the crash site. Military forces are heading to the location, hoping for good news," he told the network.
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נשיא איראן אברהים ראיסי
נשיא איראן אברהים ראיסי
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
This report comes after long hours during which rescue teams struggled to locate the helicopter due to rain, fog and strong winds in the area.
Earlier, an Iranian official told Reuters that the lives of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was with him on board the helicopter, were at risk.
Search and rescue team dispatched to comb crash area

Raisi’s administrative assistant, Mohsen Mansouri, later revealed that authorities managed to contact one of the helicopter passengers and a crew member several times, but did not clarify who exactly was contacted or when.
Amid Israeli speculation that Raisi was killed, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a statement Sunday evening urging Iranians not to worry or panic, emphasizing that “no disruption will occur in the affairs of the state.”
Last footage of Raisi from helicopter before losing contact

The helicopter incident occurred near Jolfa, a city close to the Azerbaijani border, approximately 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of Tehran.
Raisi was visiting Azerbaijan to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, against the backdrop of tense relations between the two countries, partly due to Azerbaijan's close ties with Israel. The air incident apparently happened on his way back.
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המסוק של נשיא איראן איברהים ראיסי ממריא מ אזרבייג'ן שעות לפני ש התרסק
המסוק של נשיא איראן איברהים ראיסי ממריא מ אזרבייג'ן שעות לפני ש התרסק
Raisi and Amirabdollahian's helicopter taking off before losing contact
(Photo: Ali Hamed Haghdoust/IRNA/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/REUTERS)
According to Iranian reports, the helicopter carrying Raisi and Foreign Minister AmirAbdollahian was part of a group of three helicopters, with the other two reaching their destination safely.
At the time of the flight, the weather in the area en route to East Azerbaijan Province in northwestern Iran was inclement, with heavy rain, thick fog and strong winds. Initial reports suggested that the president and foreign minister’s helicopter had made a complex and “difficult” emergency landing in a forest, but later reports indicated it had crashed.
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איראן מתפללים לשלום ה נשיא איברהים ראיסי התרסקות מסוק
איראן מתפללים לשלום ה נשיא איברהים ראיסי התרסקות מסוק
Iranian crowds praying for safe return of missing president and foreign minister
Upon receiving reports of the crash, Iranian state television interrupted its regular programming to broadcast prayers for Raisi’s safety held in mosques across the country, including in the cities of Mashhad and Qom.
In a corner of the screen, live footage of the rescue teams searching the mountainous area where the helicopter went missing was shown. The office of Supreme Leader Khamenei stated that he, too, was praying for Raisi.
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