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Ali Khamenei leads prayers at Ebrahim Raisi’s funeral as thousands of Iranian mourners fill Tehran’s streets

Tens of thousands of mourners have followed a funeral procession for Iran’s late president, foreign minister and the other victims of a helicopter crash.

Ebrahim Raisi died along with seven others in the crash near the country’s border with Azerbaijan on Sunday.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led prayers for the victims at the funeral at Tehran University.

The caskets of the dead, including the late foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, were draped in Iranian flags with their pictures on them.

On the late president’s coffin sat a black turban, signifying him as a direct descendent of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“Oh Allah, we didn’t see anything but good from him,” Mr Khamenei said in the standard prayer for the dead in Arabic.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei leads a prayer over the flag-draped coffins. Pic: AP

Iran’s acting president, Mohammad Mokhber, stood nearby and openly wept during the service.

People then carried the coffins out on their shoulders, with chants outside being heard of “death to America”.

The coffins were placed on a trailer for a procession through downtown Tehran to Azadi, where Mr Raisi gave speeches in the past.

In attendance were leaders of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, one of the country’s major power centres.

Mourners attend the funeral for victims of helicopter crash that killed Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others, in Tehran.
Pic: WANA/Reuters
Mourners turned out in their thousands on the streets of Tehran. Pic: WANA/Reuters


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi gives a speech during a ceremony to mark the fourth anniversary of the killing of senior Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. attack, in Tehran, Iran, January 3, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
Iran’s late president, Ebrahim Raisi. File pic: WANA/Reuters

Also at the funeral was Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, the militant group Iran has armed and supported during the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The funeral will move to Mr Raisi’s eastern home city of Mashhad for burial on Thursday.

It comes as the clerical establishment organises an early election that could further erode its legitimacy amid growing public discontent.

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The June 28 vote to replace Mr Raisi, who was aged 63 when he died, will need to galvanise a population that showed little interest in the 2021 ballot.

Following a historic low voter turnout of around 41% during a parliamentary election in March, Iran’s rulers are under pressure to produce a high turnout for next month’s contest.

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