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Raisi's helicopter equipped with full navigation, foreign minister boarded last minute

The helicopter was piloted by Army pilots, not the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

ISTANBUL, May 21. /TASS/. The helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi that crashed on May 19 was equipped with all the necessary navigation and signaling devices, the Turkiye newspaper said citing sources in the Iranian security services.

It was piloted by Army pilots, not the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

According to the sources, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and other persons, who were originally supposed to fly to Iran from Azerbaijan on the second helicopter, were added to the passenger list at the last minute.

According to the newspaper, the helicopter was previously piloted by IRGC pilots, but this time the crew consisted of army personnel. The helicopter was equipped with three types of tracking devices. Along with the traditional GPS and transponder, it had a special system that ensures uninterrupted signal transmission for 72 hours. Despite this fact, it was not possible to locate the crash site immediately.

Sources in Tehran cited by Turkiye also speculated that the crash was the result of an operation to eliminate Raisi, who was considered a likely candidate to replace Iran's 85-year-old Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. "According to one scenario, Raisi was unwanted in this equation and was eliminated," the newspaper said. Khamenei's 55-year-old son Mojtaba Khamenei and parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf are among the candidates to succeed him.

Earlier it was reported that the wreckage of the Iranian President's helicopter was found by a Turkish UAV, which was sent to search at the request of the Islamic Republic authorities.

The crash

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Governor of the East Azerbaijan Province Malek Rahmati, Imam of Friday Prayer in Tabriz Muhammad Ali Ale-Hashem and the chief of the presidential guard crashed in the province of East Azerbaijan on May 19. An election to choose a new president has been scheduled for June 28.