Israel Issues Blunt Response Over Iranian President’s Death

( – On May 19, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Howwein Amirabdollahian, and several others were flying in Iran when the helicopter crashed near the Azerbaijan border. The dense fog in the area made it difficult to find the wreckage and check on the state of the passengers, but a drone showed no signs of life. The next day, all those on board were officially declared dead.

After the crash, an anonymous Israeli official told Reuters that Israel didn’t have anything to do with the helicopter crash. The incident happened at a volatile time in the Middle East, with tensions high between Israel and Iran. In October 2023, Hamas — Iran’s ally — launched a coordinated attack against Israel, killing around 1,200 of the country’s citizens. That incident started a war. Also, in April, Iran attacked Israel with a drone strike that was stopped by the Iron Dome. The timing of Raisi’s death raised an eyebrow or two.

Israeli politician MK Avigdor Liberman reportedly told Ynet that his country “won’t shed a tear” over Raisi’s death, adding that the “president was a brutal man.” He also said the incident wouldn’t change “Israel’s attitude” toward Iran.

Raisi was a conservative, hard-line cleric who enforced a strict dress code against women and brutally cracked down on political opposition. The deceased Iranian president was sometimes referred to as the “Butcher of Tehran.” Some believe he was partially responsible for the mass execution of thousands in 1988. He was elected as president in 2021 and supported not only Hamas militants in Gaza but also Hezbollah fighters and Houthi rebels in other countries.

The cause of the helicopter crash is still being investigated. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that he had no information about the cause because the United States had no part in the investigation. Within 50 days, Iran will hold an election to choose Reisi’s replacement. In the meantime, Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will serve in his absence.

Copyright 2024,