MOURNERS attend the funeral procession of late Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi in the city of Birjand.—AFP
MOURNERS attend the funeral procession of late Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi in the city of Birjand.—AFP

TEHRAN: Iranian Presi­dent Ebrahim Raisi was laid to rest in Imam Ali Reza’s shrine in Mashhad on Thursday, concluding days of funeral rites attended by hundreds of thousands of mourners after his death in a helicopter crash, footage broadcast by Iranian media showed.

In his hometown Mashhad, hundreds of thousands of people marched to bid farewell to President Raisi ahead of his burial following processions in the cities of Tabriz, Qom, Tehran and Birjand.

The 63-year-old died on Sunday alongside his foreign minister and six others after their helicopter went down in the country’s mountainous northwest while returning from a dam inauguration on the border with Azerbaijan.

Men and women, who were mainly clad in black chadors and clutching white flowers, crowded the main boulevard of Mashhad, Iran’s second city in the northeast where Mr Raisi was born.

Iranian president laid to rest in Mashhad

Posters of President Raisi, black flags and Shia symbols were erected along the streets of Mas­hhad, particularly aro­und the late president’s final resting place — the Imam Reza shrine, a key mausoleum visited by millions of pilgrims every year.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was buried on Thursday in the shrine of Shah Abdol-Azim in the town of Shahre Ray, south of the capital.

Iranian officials and foreign dignitaries paid their respects to the late top diplomat at a ceremony in Tehran ahead of the burial.

Massive crowds had gathered for a funeral procession in the Iranian capital on Wednesday to pay their final respects to the president, whom officials and media dubbed a “martyr”.

Iran’s newspapers carried large front-page pictures of the gathering on Thursday, hailing the ceremonies as an “epic farewell” and saying President Raisi would forever remain “in the hearts of the people”.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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