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Iran: Türkiye sends drone to join in the search and rescue operations

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was forced into a hard landing while navigating mountain terrain in heavy fog, and rescuers are currently struggling to reach the site.

The incident has garnered significant international attention, with foreign governments and officials expressing concern and offering assistance in any rescue if need be.

Regional countries including Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have voiced concern over the incident and readiness to assist in search and rescue efforts.

“I convey my best wishes to our neighbour, friend and brother Iranian people and government, and I hope to receive good news from Mr Raisi and his delegation as soon as possible,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on X, formerly Twitter.

Türkiye on Sunday evening sent a drone to join in the search and rescue operations at the request of the Iranian side through the foreign ministry, the Turkish Defense Minister said in a statement.

Turkey’s Akinci drone identified a “source of heat suspected to be the wreckage of the helicopter” and shared its coordinates with Iranian authorities. This was quickly confirmed by Iran’s IRGC.

“We were profoundly troubled by the news of a helicopter carrying the top delegation crash-landing in Iran … As a neighbour, friend, and brotherly country, the Republic of Azerbaijan stands ready to offer any assistance needed,” said Azeri President Ilham Aliyev on X.

The Iraqi government said in a statement it had instructed its interior ministry, the Red Crescent and other relevant bodies to offer help to neighboring Iran in the search mission.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia affirms that it stands by the Islamic Republic of Iran during these difficult circumstances and is prepared to provide any assistance the Iranian services need,” said Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry in a statement.

“We express the State of Qatar’s deep concern regarding the Iranian president’s helicopter experiencing a difficult landing incident. We affirm the State of Qatar’s readiness to provide all forms of support in the search for the Iranian president’s aircraft. We express the State of Qatar’s wishes for the safety of the Iranian president, the foreign minister and their companions,” a ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

International organizations and other countries also expressed concern over the incident and readiness to provide help.

“The Secretary-General is following reports of an incident with Iranian President Raisi’s aircraft with concern. He hopes for the safety of the president and his entourage,” said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The European commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic, said the commission had activated its satellite mapping service to aid search efforts, following a request for assistance from Iran.

China is deeply concerned over the ill-fated helicopter carrying President Raisi and hopes the president and the others aboard are safe and sound, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday, adding that China is closely following the situation and will provide all necessary support and assistance for Iran’s rescue efforts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia will extend all necessary assistance to Iran in the search operation, Russia’s Tass news report.

Putin’s message was conveyed by the Iranian Ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, who was summoned to a meeting with the Russian leader.

U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly suspended his vacation and rushed back to the White House for an urgent briefing following the incident involving the Iranian president’s helicopter.

Famagusta Gazette