Raisi Buried in Iran’s Holiest Islamic Site 

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was interred Thursday in a tomb in the gold-domed Iman Reza Holy Shrine, Iran’s holiest Islamic site.

Thousands of mourners filled the streets of Mashhad, Iran, for his funeral.

Raisi, 63, was killed Sunday, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and six others in a helicopter crash in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province in the mountainous northwest. Raisi was widely seen as a candidate to succeed 85-year-old Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who wields ultimate power in Iran.

Many of the mourners in Mashhad were dressed in black and beat their chests and heads in a sign of mourning common in Shi’ite ceremonies. A truck carried his casket down a street, with mourners reaching out to touch it and tossing scarves and flowers against it for a blessing.

Mourners surround a truck carrying the flag-draped coffins of the President Ebrahim Raisi, and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, during their funeral ceremony in the city of Mashhad, Iran, May 23, 2024.
Mourners surround a truck carrying the flag-draped coffins of the President Ebrahim Raisi, and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, during their funeral ceremony in the city of Mashhad, Iran, May 23, 2024.

The Imam Reza shrine is revered as the resting place of the 9th century Imam Ali al-Reza. Raisi hailed from Mashhad, 900 kilometers east of Tehran, the Iranian capital.

Earlier, thousands had paid their respects as his coffin was driven in a motorcade through the eastern city of Birjand.

While the crowds were substantial for Raisi’s funeral, they were not as large as those that gathered for the funeral for Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in 2020, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad.

It was a possible sign of the public’s feelings about Raisi’s presidency during which the government harshly cracked down on all dissent during protests over the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, who was detained allegedly for not properly wearing her mandatory head scarf to authorities’ liking.

Persian social media users posted videos appearing to show people in different parts of Iran sharing sweets and chocolates on Monday to celebrate Raisi’s death.

Khamenei named Mohammad Mokhber, a relatively unknown first vice president until Sunday’s crash, as Iran’s acting president. A presidential election is set for June 28.

Some material for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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