Conservatives dominate Iran's parliamentary and assembly elections



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: BBC

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Amid political and economic challenges, many conservative candidates have won Iran's parliamentary and religious assembly elections. Voting took place from 8 am to 6 pm local time on Friday (March 1). Counting of votes started after 12 midnight local time.

Official primary results on Saturday (March 2) showed ultra-conservatives Mahmoud Nabavian and Hamid Resai in the lead in Tehran's 30 seats in the Iranian capital, Tehran. Then there is 35-year-old Amir Hossain Sabeti, a national television host.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is in fourth place. Longtime lawmaker Mojtaba Jonnour holds a seat in the holy Shiite city of Qom.

President Ibrahim Raisi has renewed his seat in the Council of Experts for the third time with more than 82 percent of the vote in South Khorasan province in eastern Iran.

Meanwhile, followers of moderate politician Ali Motahari, son of the late eminent scholar Murteza Motahari, could not secure a single seat with a majority of the 30 seats in Tehran.

The ultra-conservative Ahmad Khatami, the incumbent imam of Tehran's Friday prayers, has again won a seat in the assembly from Kerman province, and Mohammad Sayedi is the representative of Qaum.

Along with the parliamentary elections, the midterm elections of Iran's Council of Experts were also held on the same day. Voters will elect seven members of the Expert Council. The National Assembly elections are being held across the country, but the Expert Council polls were held only in Tehran, Qom, North Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi and Fars provinces.

The supreme leader, made up of Islamic scholars, will be elected through the election of 290 lawmakers and 88 expert members of the assembly. Seven thousand 148 candidates are contesting 290 parliamentary seats.

Officials are yet to release voter turnout figures for Friday's parliamentary elections. But the Mehr news agency, citing unofficial results, said voter turnout in Tehran was only 24 percent.

   

Countries ready to help Iran



International Desk, Barta24.com
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Saudi Arabia expressed solidarity with Iran after the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi crashed on Sunday (May 19), saying it was ready to provide any assistance Iran needed.

Arab News reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia said that Riyadh is monitoring the incident with concern.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government said in a statement that it had ordered its interior ministry, the Red Crescent and other related organizations to assist neighboring Iran in the search mission.

Iranian search and rescue teams are carrying out a rescue operation in the fog-shrouded mountains after the helicopter carrying President and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian went missing in a crash on Sunday, state media IRNA reported.

IRNA also reported that fears for Raisi grew after contact was lost with the helicopter carrying him in East Azerbaijan province.

On the other hand, Qatar has also said that it is ready to provide all kinds of support for Iran's search efforts.

The UAE's foreign ministry said in a statement that it stands by Iran and is ready to assist in efforts to find the helicopter carrying Raisi.

Turkey's foreign ministry said steps have been taken to provide all kinds of assistance in search and rescue operations.

The European Union said it had activated its rapid response mapping service to help Iran search for the helicopter.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on the Telegram messaging app, "Russia is ready to provide all necessary assistance in finding the missing helicopter and investigating the cause of the incident."

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The helicopter carrying Raisi has been found



International Desk, Barta24.com
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The helicopter carrying Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi has been found, Reuters reported, citing the country's state television.

Al Jazeera reported that rescue and search teams have found the crashed helicopter. However, the report did not provide any details about President Raisi and other officials on board the helicopter.

Meanwhile, an official of the Iranian Red Crescent, who participated in the rescue operation of the helicopter, said that the rescue operation is still underway. Some local media reported unconfirmed reports that the crashed helicopter had been found.

Regarding Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian, a journalist of the country's state television said that they have no information about finding the helicopter.

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Raisi and senior officials crashed in a mountainous area in Iran's East Azerbaijan province on Sunday (May 19).

The helicopter was carrying Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Governor of East Azerbaijan Province Malek Rahmati and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, spokesman for Iran's supreme leader in the province.

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Raisi was not found, a massive search operation is underway



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Hours after the helicopter crash, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian have not been found.

A massive search operation is underway in remote mountainous areas of Iran's East Azerbaijan province to find them. However, the rescue operation is being hampered due to hostile weather, the country's officials said.

On Sunday (May 19), President of Iran Ibrahim Raisi went to inaugurate a dam in the border area of Azerbaijan. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev was also there.

From there, Ibrahim Raisi and other officials with him were returning to Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan province, with a fleet of three helicopters. En route, the helicopter carrying the president crashed near the Zolfa region of East Azerbaijan. The other two helicopters reached their destination safely.

Apart from the Iranian president and foreign minister, Malek Rahmati, the governor of East Azerbaijan Province and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Hashem, the spokesman of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in this province, were in the crashed helicopter.

As the location of the crashed helicopter could not be identified even after a few hours of the accident, there were fears whether they would be rescued alive.

An Iranian official, who did not want to be named, told AFP, "We are still optimistic." But the news coming from the accident site is very worrying. The hostile weather and heavy fog made it difficult for the rescuers to reach the crash site.

The country's Meteorological Department says that the area may experience severe weather till Monday night. An official of the local weather department said there may be rain and heavy fog overnight in the area where the helicopter carrying the president crashed. He said that such weather may remain till Monday.

Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said that time is needed to identify the location of the crashed helicopter. He said, "Many rescue teams are searching for the missing helicopter. But time is needed to know where the helicopter crashed because the weather conditions there are very hostile. Along with the rain, there is heavy fog. This is disrupting the rescue work.

Quoting officials involved in the rescue operation, the local media reported that 40 rescue teams participated in the rescue operation. Rescuers are accompanied by ambulances and drones. Emergency services personnel, police and members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as well as the military joined the search operation, the country's army chief, Mohammad Bagheri, said.

Ahmad Ali Reza Beigi, an Iranian parliamentarian elected from Tabriz, said rescuers have not yet identified the location of the crashed helicopter. Heavy rain and fog made their rescue difficult.

Iran's Tasnim media reported that an emergency phone call from the helicopter informed that the helicopter had crashed. The phone call was made by the officials accompanying the President in the helicopter. However, the connection was disconnected before the end of the conversation.

Local media reported that a massive search operation was launched after receiving the news of the helicopter crash. But the helicopter has not been found yet. Rescue work is hampered due to rain and fog.

Iran's Fars news agency reported that in the darkness of the night, nothing can be seen even five meters away in the inaccessible mountainous area. Due to this, the rescue workers are facing a lot of complications.

The cabinet members of the country held an emergency meeting in the situation. After the meeting, the Vice President and some ministers went to Tabriz. IRGC chief Hossein Salami went to the accident site to speed up the rescue operation. He held meetings with various levels of commanders, ministers and local officials of IRGC.

Many other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Iraq, have expressed concern over the crash of the helicopter carrying Ibrahim Raisi. Turkey has sent a 32-member rescue team to assist in the rescue operation. These rescue workers are especially skilled in mountain rescue operations.

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Slovakian Prime Minister Fico is in critical condition after being shot



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was injured in the shooting. He was shot several times. As a result, the condition is critical. He is being taken by helicopter to Banska Bystrica. This measure has been taken because it will take a long time to get him to Bratislava because he needs urgent treatment. It will be understood in the next two or three hours what is his condition. Online Al Jazeera reported that this was said on his verified Facebook account. He was shot in the town of Handlova on Wednesday afternoon. President Zuzana Kaputova condemned the brutal and merciless attack.

A person has been arrested on suspicion. Parliament was in session at the time of the incident. Deputy Speaker Lubos Blaha informed the members about the matter. He then adjourned the session until further notice. President said - I am saddened by this news. I am wishing Robert Fico much strength and a speedy recovery during this difficult time. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the attack. He told X- Such violence has no place in our society. It undermines democracy. My condolences to Prime Minister Fico and his family, she added.

Meanwhile, local media reports said he was shot four times in the stomach outside the House of Culture in Handlova town on Wednesday afternoon. As soon as he was rescued from there, the police surrounded the spot and arrested a suspect.

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