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Helicopter crash that killed Iran’s president and others could reverberate across the Middle East

2024.05.20, 14:44
Helicopter crash that killed Iran’s president and others could reverberate across the Middle East

The helicopter crash in which Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and other officials were killed is likely to reverberate across the Middle East, where Iran’s influence runs wide and deep.

That’s because Iran has spent decades supporting armed groups and militants in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Palestinian territories, allowing it to project power and potentially deter attacks from the United States or Israel.

Israel has long viewed Iran as its greatest threat because of Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, its ballistic missiles and its support for armed groups sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Iran views itself as the chief patron of Palestinian resistance to Israeli rule, and top officials for years have called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Raisi, who was a hard-liner viewed as a protégé and possible successor of Khamenei, chastised Israel last month, saying “Israel has been committing oppression against the people of Palestine for 75 years.”

“First of all we have to expel the usurpers, secondly we should make them pay the cost for all the damages they have created, and thirdly, we have to bring to justice the oppressor and usurper,” he said.

There is no evidence Israel was involved in Sunday’s helicopter crash, and Israeli officials have not commented on the incident.

Iran has also emerged as a key ally of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, and is widely accused of supplying exploding drones that have wreaked havoc on Ukraine’s cities.

Iranian officials have made contradictory comments about the drones, while U.S. and European officials say the sheer number being used in the war in Ukraine shows that the flow of such weapons has intensified since the war began.




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