Raisi’s Death: Iran & Allied Reaction

Iranian leaders mourned the loss of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and the other officials who died in the helicopter crash on May 19. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lauded Raisi, “the people’s president,” for his decades-long career in public service. Raisi became a prosecutor in the 1980s and quickly climbed the judiciary ranks. In 2019, Khamenei appointed him chief justice, a position he held until he was elected President in 2021. “The Iranian nation lost a devoted, sincere, valuable individual who served their country,” Khamenei said on May 20. He led prayers at the memorial service in Tehran on May 22 attended by tens of thousands of people. “Oh Allah, we didn’t see anything but good from him.”

Supreme Leader Khamenei leading funeral prayers on May 22

Acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani pledged to continue boosting ties with Iran’s neighbors and supporting the Palestinian cause, key priorities of the late president and foreign minister. “Undoubtedly, the martyrdom of the prominent servants of the country will not disrupt the diplomatic apparatus’s determination in securing the national interests and playing an effective and constructive role for the Islamic Republic of Iran in regional and international equations,” Bagheri Kani said.

Iran’s allies across the Middle East praised Raisi for supporting the so-called Axis of Resistance, a network of militias in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, and Yemen. “The resistance lost a fundamental and solid pillar,” lamented Sheikh Akram al Kaabi, the leader of the al Nujaba Movement, a Shiite militia in Iraq. Hamas, the Palestinian militia and political movement that has been fighting Israel since October 2023, expressed gratitude. The Palestinian people “value the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in supporting the Palestinian cause, as well as the known role of the late President Ebrahim Raisi during the previous period in serving Palestine and the city of occupied Jerusalem.” The following are excerpted remarks by Iranian officials and allies.


Supreme Leader Khamenei in a statement on May 20

“With deep sorrow and regret, I have received the bitter news of the martyrdom-like demise of the mujahid scholar, the people's president, the competent, hard-working servant of Imam Reza (peace be upon him), Hujjat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen, Haj Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi and his esteemed entourage (may God be pleased with them). This bitter tragedy took place while he was serving the people. The entire period that this great, self-sacrificing person held various responsibilities, both during his brief presidency and before that, he was totally dedicated to serving the people, the country, and Islam nonstop.

“Our honorable Raisi worked tirelessly. In this bitter tragedy, the Iranian nation lost a devoted, sincere, valuable individual who served their country. For him, the well-being and satisfaction of the people, which he considered to be a reflection of divine approval, took precedence over everything else. Therefore, the hurt he suffered due to the ingratitude and taunts of some ill-wishers did not deter him from his round-the-clock efforts for progress and to improve matters.

Supreme Leader Khamenei (left) and President Raisi (right)

“In this tragic event, prominent figures such as Hujjat al-Islam Ale-Hashem, the beloved, respected Friday Prayer Leader of Tabriz, Mr. Amir- Abdollahian, the mujahid, active Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Malek Rahmati, the revolutionary, religious governor of East Azerbaijan, the flight crew, and other associates who were accompanying him have also passed away. I hereby declare five days of public mourning and offer my condolences to the dear Iranian nation.

“According to Article 131 of the [Iranian] Constitution, Mr. Mokhber will assume the position of head of the Executive Branch and is obliged to cooperate with the heads of the Legislative and Judicial Branches in facilitating the election of a new president within a period that is not to exceed 50 days. Finally, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the honorable mother of Mr. Raisi, his virtuous, noble wife, the other bereaved family members of the President, and the honorable families of his entourage, in particular the honorable father of Mr. Ale-Hashem. I pray for their patience and solace, and pray for God’s mercy for the departed souls.”


Acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani in a statement on May 21

“My colleagues and I in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offer condolences to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Imam Khamenei (may his life be long), the honorable families, and the noble nation of Iran, over the martyrdom of Ayatollah Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, the beloved and valiant President, Mr. Amir-Abdollahian, the honorable and revolutionary Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ayatollah Al-e-Hashem, the honorable Friday Prayers Leader of Tabriz, and their companions, on the path of rendering another service to the people as well as deepening peace and friendship among the nations of the region.

Bagheri Kani

“Ayatollah Raisi and Mr. Amir-Abdollahian had the honor of serving the sacred Establishment of the Islamic Republic and the noble nation of Iran in their blessed lives, and their departure while on duty is the best divine reward for the chosen warriors of God.

“During my collaboration with Ayatollah Raisi, a servant of Imam Reza, in both his positions as the Chief of the Judiciary and the head of the executive branch of power, and during my cooperation with Mr. Amir-Abdollahian, I have closely witnessed their lasting and impactful services to the sacred Islamic Establishment and their deep love for the honorable nation of Islamic Iran.

“Ayatollah Raisi, during his distinguished services in various positions, including during his presidency, showcased aspects of revolutionary and diligent governance by providing outstanding services to the dear people of Iran in various fields.

“The late President meticulously pursued diplomacy based on the strategic principle of ‘dignity, wisdom, expediency’ with the aim of the comprehensive defense of the rights of the great Iranian nation, strengthening cooperation in foreign relations with a priority on good neighborliness policy, further elevating the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the international system, supporting the oppressed nation of Palestine and other oppressed peoples against the tyranny of global arrogance and the criminal Zionist regime.

“Mr. Amir Abdollahian’s deep understanding, as a close and compassionate aide to the honorable President, of the resistance front, the people, and the countries of the region was a pivotal center for advancing the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including in the field of good neighborliness policy, enhancing friendly relations with nations and governments, and defending the Palestinian people.

“His dedication to the prosperity and security of the region's nations, especially during his tenure as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, was exemplary, and his departure while on the return from another arena of service in this direction serves as another testament to this claim.

“The character and performance of my dear brother Hossein Amir-Abdollahian reflected his deep, heartfelt belief in the original principles of the Islamic Revolution and his concern for maximizing Islamic and national interests.

“His tireless and selfless efforts to achieve the goals of the Islamic Republic of Iran's foreign policy, especially in supporting the axis of resistance, developing ever more friendship with neighbors and solidarity with Muslims, strengthening relations with emerging powers and new multilateral alliances, and his high moral virtues, including good manners and humility, will be remembered forever.

“The loss of these dear martyrs is a significant loss for the sacred Establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the entire Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Indeed, their valuable and high-minded thoughts and policies for advancing Iran's foreign policy, including in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will continue using all capacities, and efforts will be made to ensure that this unfortunate incident will not hinder the serious duties and responsibilities of the sincere servants of the Iranian nation in the diplomatic apparatus.”


Foreign Ministry statement on May 20

“The Iranian Foreign Ministry expresses its congratulations and condolences over the martyrdom of the beloved and popular servant of the Iranian nation, President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and their precious companions to the great and noble nation of Iran.

“Martyrdom is the art of men of God and the pride of God's prophets, and is a worthy reward from God to His chosen creatures.

“The esteemed martyrs of the bitter and tragic incident sincerely gave up their blessed lives to serve Islam and beloved Iran, and they have achieved the great blessing of martyrdom in the path of honest and sincere service to the noble nation of Iran.

“Undoubtedly, the great nation of Iran appreciates the sincere and honest services of its servants, and the names of the valuable and high-ranking martyrs will proudly go down in the glorious history of the Islamic Revolution and beloved Iran.

“During the last three years, Dr. Raisi and Dr. Amirabdollahian, as the president and foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, played a historic, effective and lasting role in the history of our country's politics and foreign relations.

“Promoting Iran's status in the international system, bolstering convergence and consolidating bonds of friendship and affection among the regional countries and nations, establishing constructive ties in the international system, and supporting the establishment of justice at the regional and global levels have been a part of the tireless efforts of the two precious martyrs.

“Undoubtedly, the martyrdom of the prominent servants of the country will not disrupt the diplomatic apparatus’s determination in securing the national interests and playing an effective and constructive role for the Islamic Republic of Iran in regional and international equations.

“Once again, we appreciate the expression of human feelings and emotions by the heads of state and nation, prominent political and religious figures and international organizations and their solidarity with the Iranian government and people.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs prays for the exalted spirits of the president, the foreign minister and their martyred companions to the Almighty God and asks for patience for their esteemed families.”


General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, on May 20

“The armed forces will stand by the government and serve the dear nation at this critical moment, as they have in the past.”


Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf on May 20

“You had a place in the heart of the Iranian nation and your memory became eternal. Beloved of the heart of the Iranian nation, dear friend, friend of the clean and honest Imam and the leader of your journey.

“Don't forget us, hold the hand of your brother and convey our greetings to Haj Qassem [Soleimani]. You have achieved your wish and finally you are happy.”


Allies and Proxies

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on May 20

“We share with you all the feelings and meanings of loss of those noble leaders at this sensitive stage, as you lead the Islamic nation in its bitter struggle against the forces of arrogance as well hegemony and the American and Zionist occupation of our sanctities, lands, and peoples.”

“Your blessed presence and wise, guided, and courageous leadership condole and inspire us along with all the oppressed, the resistance fighters, and the fighters on the path of righteousness with hope.”

Secretary General Nasrallah


Hamas condolences on May 20

“We express our shared feelings of sadness and pain with the brotherly Iranian people, and our complete solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran, in this painful and gravely afflicted incident, which claimed the lives of a group of the best Iranian leaders.”

“We are confident that the Islamic Republic of Iran will be able - God willing - to overcome the repercussions of this great loss. The dear Iranian people have ancient institutions capable of dealing with this severe ordeal.”


Hamas press statement warning Gazans against celebrating Raisi’s death on May 20

“The defamatory video of the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi does not reflect the integrity and ethics of our Palestinian people and Iran, a country with a long history of serving the Palestinian cause.

“Some social media sites have circulated a video that insults the late President Ebrahim Raisi, claiming it is from the Gaza Strip. We assure that this video was released by a limited group of outsiders who do not represent the origins of our national and ethical Palestinian identity. The great majority aligns with Iran in its support of the Palestinian cause in facing the "Israeli" occupation.

“Regarding this video, government agencies will take the necessary legal measures against the transgressors who do not consider the real dimensions of the risks surrounding our Palestinian people. They fail to recognize the significant role that the Islamic Republic of Iran plays in serving the Palestinian cause.

“Our Palestinian people highly value the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in supporting the Palestinian cause, as well as the known role of the late President Ebrahim Raisi during the previous period in serving Palestine and the city of occupied Jerusalem.”


Palestinian Islamic Jihad on May 20

“We extend our sincere condolences and sympathies to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and to the dear Iranian people on the passing of the President of the Islamic Republic, Mr. Ebrahim Raisi, and the Foreign Minister, Dr. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, along with their aides.

“We affirm our full solidarity and sympathy with the Iranian people on this sad occasion.

“The death of the President and his Foreign Minister is a great loss for the Islamic Republic due to their significant and distinguished presence in Iran's journey and its ongoing presence on the international and regional political stage.

“We are confident that Iran is capable of overcoming this painful ordeal, just as it has overcome all difficulties and challenges throughout its decades-long journey.”


Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi on May 20

“It is with great regret and sorrow that we received the news of the unfortunate incident of the President of the Islamic Republic, Mr. Ibrahim Raisi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and their companions.”


Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam on May 20

“It is with great sadness that Iran has suffered from the ordeal of losing its president, its foreign minister, and the accompanying delegation following the crash of their helicopter.”

“President Raisi was an example for a Muslim person who is committed to the principles of his religion and the issues of his nation, foremost among which is Palestine, and a sincere lover of his dear Muslim Iranian people and seeking to serve them with all he can. His recent trip to open a service project in the farthest reaches of the country is an example of the extent of this president’s sincerity and his great keenness to do everything possible. Whatever he can in order to provide the means of security and stability for the dear people of Iran.

“The loss of President Mr. Ebrahim Raisi is a loss not only for Iran, but also for the entire Islamic nation, Palestine and Gaza, which are waging a liberation battle and were in dire need of the presence of such a president who continued to defend the oppression of the Palestinian people and their right to achieve freedom and restore their land and sanctities.”


Islamic Resistance al Nujaba Movement Secretary General Sheikh Akram al Kaabi on May 20

“We affirm beyond doubt that their [Iranians’] affliction with the deceased martyr and his companions is our affliction and it is our grief. The positions of the late master [Raisi] were honorable by all standards and his jihadi role was clear and explicit in defending the issues of the entire Islamic nation and it was not limited to the Islamic Republic, and its standing with the Iraqi people in confronting the sinful ISIS terrorism, as well as with regard to the issue of the Islamic nation represented by Gaza.”

“The resistance lost a fundamental and solid pillar and a brave resistor who always defended Islam and its true causes, and despite all that, we, in the wise leadership of the Islamic Republic, have full confidence that its men will overcome the crisis and this generous country will continue its struggle and support for all the oppressed in the world. This painful incident will not discourage them from completing the project of paving the way for our existing Imam, may God hasten his honorable return…”


Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada Secretary General Abu Ala al Walai on May 20

“Our condolences to His Eminence Imam Khamenei (may his shadow be long), the countries of the Axis of Resistance, the brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the government and people, and the families of the martyrs and their companions.”