News ID: 127611
Publish Date : 22 May 2024 - 21:55

Historic Farewell

TEHRAN — Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and representatives of resistance groups prayed Wednesday over the coffins of Iran’s late president, foreign minister and other officials martyred in a helicopter crash earlier this week. Millions of people later followed a procession down Tehran’s main boulevard.
President Raisi passed away with seven others, including the foreign minister, Hussein Amir-Abdollahian, who was hailed by Hamas on Wednesday as the minister for the resistance.
Amid emotional scenes, the coffins of those martyred were shown to people gathered for the funeral as Ayatollah Khamenei led prayers at the University of Tehran, where he embraced President Raisi’s grandchildren and urged Iranians to remember a devoted servant.  
“Oh Allah, we didn’t see anything but good from him,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in Arabic, the language of Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an. Iran’s acting president, Muhammad Mokhber, stood nearby and openly cried.
During President Raisi’s term in office, Iran launched an unprecedented strike on the occupying regime of Israel last month as its war on the Gaza Strip rages on. Iran has supported Hamas throughout the war.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh attended the prayers Wednesday morning. He recounted President Raisi telling him this year that the Oct. 7 operation by Hamas was an “earthquake in the heart of the Zionist entity.” In a later meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader told Haniyeh that the “destruction of the Zionist regime is feasible and, God willing, the day in which Palestine will be created from the sea to river will arrive.”
Referring to pro-Palestine protests at American, European and Japanese universities, Ayatollah Khamenei told Haniyeh: “Who would have believed that one day in Japan there would be demonstrations in favor of Palestine, slogans in the Persian language ‘Death to Israel’.”
Mourners at the ceremony also chanted: “Death to Israel!” 
Naim Qassem, the deputy chief of the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah, and the Houthi representative were also in attendance.
The Leader promised that the acting president, Muhammad Mokhber, would continue with the same policies towards the occupying regime of Israel.
Statesmen from the Mideast and beyond attended a later memorial service, including Iraq’s Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Tunisian President Kais Saied.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was also there. Cairo and Tehran have been discussing reestablishing ties severed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
A single black turban was placed over President Raisi’s casket during the morning service, which signifies he was considered a direct descendent of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him). People then carried the coffins out on their shoulders 

 as chants of “Death to America!” erupted outside.
People openly wept during the procession and beat their chests, a common sign of grief in the Shia culture. They tossed scarves and other possessions up to the semitruck driving the caskets through Tehran, with coffin attendants brushing the data-x-items against the caskets in a gesture of blessing.
One man said he and his friends took a nearly seven-hour bus trip to attend the procession. Many expressed their sympathies for the martyrs, including President Raisi.
“He was our president, the others were pilots and a minister, how can I be indifferent about their loss?” asked Sima Rahmani, a 27-year-old Tehran woman.
“I did not vote for Raisi in 2021 election, but he was the president of all people,” said Morteza Nemati, a 28-year-old physics student at Tehran Azad University. “My presence is a way of paying tribute to him.”
Meanwhile, an Iranian official offered a new accounting of Sunday’s crash, further fueling the theory that bad weather had led to it. Gholamhussein Esmaili, who traveled in one of the two other helicopters in President Raisi’s entourage, told national TV that weather had been fine when the aircraft took off. But President Raisi’s helicopter disappeared into heavy clouds and the others couldn’t reach the aircraft by radio.
The other two helicopters had risen above the cloud relatively quickly. On realizing that Raisi’s helicopter was not with them they turned back to search for him, but found nothing. It remains unclear if there was engine failure or pilot error in the murky conditions.
The Friday prayer leader from the city of Tabriz, Muhammad Ali Ale-Hashem, who was also on board, somehow answered two mobile phone calls after the crash, saying he was hurt, Esmaili said.
“The conditions of the bodies found showed that they (passed away) immediately after the incident,” Esmaili said. “But Ayatollah Ale-Hashem (passed away) a few hours after the incident.”
On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands mourn at a farewell procession for President Raisi in Tabriz, the capital of the East Azarbaijan province. 
Waving Iranian flags and portraits of the late president, they set out from a central square in the northwestern city where President Raisi was headed when his helicopter crashed.
After the procession in Tabriz, the bodies were taken to Qom, a city in central Iran of great religious significance, for another ceremony and then moved to the capital. 
From Tehran, President Raisi’s body was taken to Birjand in east Iran for another procession before being transferred to Mashhad, the country’s second largest city located in the northeast, where he had been born and raised.
Organizers in Mashhad said they are planning a “glorious” burial on Thursday for Raisi in the holy city.