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Here’s what you need to know about Ebrahim Raisi

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed Sunday, prompting a massive search and rescue effort to locate the far-right leader.

An Iranian official told Reuters that the lives of Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were “in danger following the helicopter crash”, which occurred after returning from a visit to Iran’s border with Azerbaijan.

“We are still hopeful but the information coming from the accident site is very worrying,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The news service reported that Iranian state television had halted all regular programming and was broadcasting prayers from across the country as well as scenes of rescue efforts.

Raisi was returning from the Azerbaijani border after an event to inaugurate the Qiz-Qalaisi dam, a joint project between the two countries.

Here’s what you need to know about Ebrahim Raïssi.

When was Ebrahim Raïssi elected president of Iran?

Raïssi was elected president in June 2021 and took office in August of the same year.

“The Iranian people expect the new government to improve their living conditions… All illegal US sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted,” he said after being sworn in, according to the BBC.

During his presidency, Raisi presided over the strengthening of moral laws, the suppression of anti-government protests and made great efforts to restart nuclear negotiations with world powers.

Raisi previously ran for office in 2017 against incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.

Who was Ebrahim Raïssi before the presidency?

Raisi was previously the head of Iran’s judiciary, appointed to the position by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2019.

Raisi served as the country’s prosecutor general between 2014 and 2016, first deputy head of the country’s judiciary from 2004 to 2014 and prosecutor general of Tehran between 1989 and 1994.

The United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Raisi after his appointment for “his administrative oversight of the executions of individuals who were minors at the time of their crime and the torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment inflicted on prisoners in Iran. including amputations.

What power does the Iranian presidency hold?

In the Iranian political system, the president is the highest elected position and the second highest government office behind the Rahbar or supreme leader, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica.

The Iranian president is the country’s head of government and serves a four-year term, with a two-term limit.

Raisi has been seen as a potential replacement for Khamenei.

Contributor: Reuters

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What you need to know about Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after helicopter crash

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