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Iranian President Raisi's helicopter crashes, sparking a large search and rescue effort.

Iranian sources said that a chopper carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed on Sunday in northern Iran. Rescuers are looking for the wreckage in the dark. As the temperature drops in the hilly region overnight, Raisi's health and that of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, who was also on board, are still unknown.

State media said that dozens of rescue teams and military drones participated in the enormous search and rescue operation after the aircraft went down in Iran's East Azerbaijan region early in the afternoon.

Authorities have reported that a Turkish drone has found a heat source and that they were able to communicate with a few of the occupants of the chopper. However, due to heavy fog and extremely cold weather, rescue personnel have not been able to reach the accident scene despite trying for hours.

After receiving a signal from the helicopter and one of the crew members' cell phones, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps regional commander declared late on Sunday night that they had located the crash site, according to IRNA.

The commander allegedly stated, "Military forces are heading to the location and hope to have some good news."

The event occurred seven months into Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza, which has escalated tensions throughout the Middle East and exposed a long-running shadow conflict between Iran and Israel. It also occurs at a delicate moment for Tehran on the home front. In reaction to what seemed to be a fatal Israeli bombardment on Iran's embassy in Damascus, Iran last month conducted an extraordinary drone and missile attack on Israel, marking its first-ever direct attack on the nation.

Iran's hardline government has had several difficulties recently as a result of the country's dire economic situation and youth-led protests against religious authority. Ever since Mahsa Amini's murder in 2022 while in the care of Iran's infamous morality police, the country has seen widespread demonstrations, prompting the Iranian government to begin a general crackdown on dissent. 

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