Iran’s Grief

The helicopter crash that took the life of Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, has shaken the world in grief. Iran may not have many sympathisers in the West, but condolences have poured in from all corners of the world. Pakistan, Iran’s brotherly Islamic country and immediate neighbour, called a day of mourning, yesterday to show solidarity with the Iranian people. It is a moment of shared sorrow and Pakistanis feel the pain and loss next door. The people of Pakistan, and that includes officials and government dignitaries as well, have expressed their sympathies and extended condolences as they wrote on social media. No doubt, this is a very unfortunate incident, and all friendly countries must stand with Iran.

Even during the rescue operation and the hours of chaos when the helicopter could not be found, countries including Pakistan offered to help and assured Iran that it has their support in every form. Turkey sent an unmanned aerial vehicle to spot the helicopter. Likewise, European Union activated its satellite to locate the lost passengers of the crashed helicopter. The news of the death of the President, the Foreign Minister, and others on board came as a shock to millions in Iran who were continuously praying for the safety of their leader.

Raisi raised Iran’s stature, aligned it strategically with China and Russia, picked its fights carefully, and remained steadfast in protecting its interests. Uranium enrichment at weapons-grade level, advanced drone and missile capability, and making the country’s defence unsurmountable – all this while facing sanctions from the US, Ebrahim Raisi was more than just a President. His visit to Pakistan is very fresh and very recent; being one among the few from Iran to visit Pakistan and lay the foundation of a strong relationship. He did what was halted for a long while between the two countries. Trust soared and practical steps were initiated from both sides to build on the promise of cooperation owed to his visit.

Now with the President gone, the next phase of choosing a new President will be somewhat tough for Iran. For now, Iran’s first Vice President will assume the Presidency on an interim basis, but the next President must be someone who has popular legitimacy. Raisi was a spiritual hand of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and it remains to be seen who is qualified enough to succeed him.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt