Pakistani army chief offers condolences on the tragic death of Iranian President

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TEHRAN – General Syed Asim Munir, the chief of Pakistan’s Army has conveyed heartfelt condolences and deep sorrow regarding the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, and his accompanying delegation.

In a telephone conversation on Sunday, General Munir extended his sympathies to Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, conveying condolences to the Iranian nation and government, particularly to the Armed Forces of Iran, for the tragic incident.

General Munir expressed profound sadness over the loss, emphasizing the exceptional friendship shared between President Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian, and the Pakistani nation.

Highlighting the significant contributions of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian, General Munir underscored their stature as exceptional officials and genuine friends of Pakistan. He lamented the irreparable loss of these esteemed officials and their companions, expressing prayers for the departed souls and extending wishes of good health to their grieving families.

Furthermore, General Munir emphasized the enduring historical, cultural, and fraternal ties between Pakistan and Iran, emphasizing that the armed forces of both nations stand in solidarity with each other.

In an official statement, the Pakistani Army reiterated Major General Bagheri’s appreciation for the sympathy and solidarity extended by the Pakistani army during this period of mourning. 

Major General Bagheri pledged to continue fostering military cooperation between Iran and Pakistan.

The helicopter carrying Raisi and his entourage crashed around afternoon on May 19 as it was on its way to Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan, from a location on the border with the Republic of Azerbaijan where the Iranian president had opened a major dam project.

Rescuers found the wreckage of the helicopter early on Monday after hours of extensive search which involved more than 70 teams.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and two senior provincial officials along with crew members and bodyguards also died as a result of the crash.

It should be noted that Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif led a high-level delegation to Tehran on Wednesday to pay respects and offer condolences to the families of President Raisi and his delegation. During the visit, Prime Minister Sharif paid tribute to the martyred President and Foreign Minister, joining in mourning alongside Iranian leaders and officials.

Additionally, Prime Minister Sharif met with Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of Islamic Revolution, further reaffirming the bonds of friendship and solidarity between Pakistan and Iran.

During the meeting, Ayatollah Khamenei highlighted the potential for a new peak in relations under Pakistan’s new government and referenced President Raisi’s recent visit to Pakistan as a significant step towards enhancing cooperation.  

“Relations with Pakistan are very important for the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we view this country in a completely brotherly manner. However, the relations between the two countries have had ups and downs in recent years, and we believe that under the new government of Pakistan, there is the possibility of a renewed peak in these relations,” the Leader stated. 

In recognition of the solemn occasion, the government of Pakistan declared Tuesday, May 21st, a national day of mourning for the martyrdom of President Raisi and his delegation. Across Islamabad and the capitals of four provinces, the Pakistani flag flew at half-mast. 

Shehbaz Sharif seemed to have formed a close bond with President Raisi in the past years. He met the late leader for the first time in 2022, to inaugurate a market at the joint border of Iran and Pakistan.

The two successfully navigated a complicated and rocky situation early this year when Tehran and Islamabad exchanged reciprocal airstrikes on each other’s soil. They also consolidated their countries’ bilateral relations by finalizing the agreement for a grand electricity transmission line.

 

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