Iranian Military Finds No Evidence of Criminal Activity in Helicopter Crash

Iranian military investigators have reported no evidence of criminal activity in the helicopter crash that claimed the life of late President Ebrahim Raisi and seven others, as per state media.

A preliminary report by the general staff of the armed forces indicated that the helicopter caught fire after hitting an elevated area. The report, shared by the official IRNA news agency, stated that no bullet holes were found on the helicopter wreckage. It also confirmed that Raisi’s helicopter followed its pre-planned route and did not deviate from the designated flight path before the crash on Sunday.

According to the report, there were no indications of suspicious communication between the watchtower and the flight crew. The final communication between the president’s helicopter and two accompanying helicopters occurred about a minute and a half before the crash, as announced by the general staff of the armed forces in a statement broadcasted on state television.

The wreckage was located in Iran’s mountainous northwest by Iranian drones early on Monday. However, search and rescue efforts were hindered by the complexity of the area, fog, and low temperature conditions. The military emphasized the need for more time to conduct thorough investigations.

The helicopter involved in the crash was an ageing Bell helicopter, transporting Raisi and his entourage back from a trip to Iran’s border with Azerbaijan. Earlier, Raisi had inaugurated a dam project with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Iran’s aviation industry has faced challenges due to foreign sanctions dating back to the 1979 revolution and subsequent restrictions imposed over its nuclear program and support for what it terms the “axis of resistance.” These sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to acquire aircraft parts or new aircraft.

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