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Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar reaches Iran to pay condolences on President Raisi's death

India had declared a day of mourning on Tuesday in wake of the untimely demise of Iran's hardline president Ebrahim Raisi. PM Modi had earlier expressed grief over Raisi's death and lauded his contribution in strengthening the India-Iran bilateral relationship.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Tehran Updated on: May 22, 2024 15:54 IST
Iranian authorities received Jagdeep Dhankar.
Image Source : @VPINDIA/X Iranian authorities received Jagdeep Dhankar.

Tehran: Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar reached Iran on Wednesday to attend an official ceremony to pay condolences to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a tragic helicopter crash along with his foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials. Dhankhar's departure to Iran was confirmed by his office and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) earlier today. The social media handle of the VP asserted he was received by Iranian authorities in Tehran.

"VP Jagdeep Dhankhar @VPIndia embarks on a visit to Tehran to attend the official ceremony to pay condolences on the tragic demise of President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister H. Amir-Abdollahian, of Iran," wrote MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal on social media platform X on Wednesday.

India pays tribute to Raisi

This came after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday visited the Iranian embassy in Delhi and conveyed India's deepest condolences on the death of Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash over the weekend. A one-day state mourning was observed across India on Tuesday as a mark of respect for Raisi. Jaishankar said India stands in solidarity with the people of Iran at this very "difficult time".

"Visited the Embassy of Iran in Delhi today to convey our deepest condolences on the tragic passing away of President Ebrahim Raisi and my colleague, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian," Jaishankar said on X. "They will always be remembered as friends of India who contributed immensely to the growth of the India-Iran relationship," he said.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed profound grief over the death of the Iranian President, the foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials. In a social media post, the Prime Minister lauded his contribution to building the relations between both countries and added India stood with Iran in a time of sorrow.

"Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise of Dr. Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His contribution to strengthening the India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow," PM Modi wrote on social media platform, X.

Raisi's funeral services begin in Iran

Thousands of Iranians turned out to mourn Raisi in Iran's holy Shi'ite Muslim city with some carrying pictures of the president and waving Iran's flag. He and Amir-Abdollahian were killed along with seven other officials in a helicopter crash near the Azerbaijan border at the weekend.

Raisi, a hardliner seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was killed when his helicopter crashed in poor weather in the mountains, officials and state media said on Monday (May 20). From Qom, Raisi's body will return to the capital to lie at Tehran's Grand Mosalla Mosque before being transferred to his hometown of Mashhad, in eastern Iran, for burial on Thursday (May 23). Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei performed prayers in Tehran on Wednesday ahead of his funeral.

Thousands in black slowly walked beside the coffins, some throwing flowers up to them as an emcee wept through a loudspeaker for men he described as martyrs. For Iran's Shiite theocracy, mass demonstrations have been crucial since millions thronged the streets of Tehran to welcome Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution. An estimated 1 million turned out in 2020 for processions for the late Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was slain in a US drone strike in Baghdad.

However, Raisi's death was met by a muted atmosphere that revealed little of the spectacular public grief that has accompanied the deaths of other senior figures in the Islamic Republic's 45-year history. Most shops remained open and the authorities made little effort to interrupt ordinary life as government loyalists packed into mosques to pray for the deceased President and foreign minister.

More than a year after Raisi's hardline government cracked down violently to end the biggest anti-establishment demonstrations since the 1979 revolution, opponents even posted furtive videos online of people passing out sweets to celebrate his death. Prosecutors already have warned people over showing any public signs of celebrating his death and a heavy security force presence has been seen on the streets of Tehran since the crash.

(with inputs from agencies)

Also Read: Jaishankar visits Iranian embassy, condoles death of president Raisi, foreign minister Amir-Abdollah

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