THE WORLD

The downing of the Iranian president's helicopter was unintentional

Ebrahim raisi

In a preliminary report of the Iranian military, it is said that so far no evidence has been found to show that the downing of the helicopter in which President Ebrahim Raisi was traveling was the work of a deliberate act or an attack. The news was announced on Friday by state media.

Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline leader seen as a possible successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was killed when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed last Sunday amid bad weather in the mountains near the border with Azerbaijan.

"No signs of bullets or anything similar were observed on the remains of the helicopter which crashed in an area at high altitude and burst into flames," said the report issued by the general staff of the Iranian armed forces.

"Nothing suspicious was observed in the control tower conversations with the flight crew," the report further added.

Ebrahim Raisi was buried Thursday in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Mashhad, four days after the crash that also killed Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and six other people.

Experts say Iran is known for lax aviation security and records show repeated crashes, many involving US-made planes bought before the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Tehran says US sanctions have long prevented it from buying new planes or spare parts from the West to update its ailing fleet.

Iran declared five days of mourning in honor of Ebrahim Raisin. The latter was known as an enforcer of Ali Khamenei's policies, for his tough stance on public dissent, and for supporting a hard line on foreign policy issues, including talks with Washington to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The new presidential elections are scheduled to be held on June 28. /VOA