What will the death of Iran’s President mean for tensions in the Middle East?

Sorcha Pollak talks to Sky News Middle East Correspondent Alistair Bunkall

Listen | 16:29

On Sunday afternoon, a helicopter carrying Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and several of his delegates, including the country’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, crash-landed in a remote part of northwest Iran.

President Raisi was returning from Iran’s border with Azerbaijan, where he had officiated the opening of two dams, alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Three helicopters were in the Iranian President’s convoy, but only two landed safely. On Monday morning, following an extensive search and rescue effort, Iranian officials confirmed that no one had survived the crash. It is believed adverse weather conditions were to blame.

President Raisi was elected to power in 2021, in a presidential election that had the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. He was seen as a conservative, hardline cleric who was tipped to replace Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei later this year.


As Iran begins five days of official mourning and the interim President Mohammad Mokhber steps forward, what will the death of Raisi mean for the future of Iran?

Will this sudden loss of leadership have ripple effects across the wider Middle East?

And what impact, if any, will it have on the rising tensions between Iran and Israel?

In the News presenter Sorcha Pollak talks to Sky News Middle East Correspondent Alistair Bunkhall about the death of the man nicknamed “the butcher of Tehran”.

“His reputation was mixed, there are plenty of people today who are mourning his passing, there will also be plenty in Iran celebrating his death. In Israel it’s been greeted rather gleefully,” he says.

Produced by Suzanne Brennan and John Casey.