Saudi, Qatar offer Iran assistance in Raisi helicopter search and rescue

In this photo provided by MojNews on May 19, 2024, rescuers gather before heading towards the site of the "accident" involving a helicopter in the convoy of Iran's President Ebhraim Raisi in the Jolfa region of the western province of East Azerbaijan. (Photo by Azin Haghighi/MojNews/AFP)
In this photo provided by MojNews on May 19, 2024, rescuers gather before heading towards the site of the "accident" involving a helicopter in the convoy of Iran's President Ebhraim Raisi in the Jolfa region of the western province of East Azerbaijan. (Photo by Azin Haghighi/MojNews/AFP)

Saudi Arabia voices “great concern” after Iranian state media reported that a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has gone missing and offers to help with the response.

“We affirm that the Kingdom stands by the sisterly Islamic Republic of Iran in these difficult circumstances and its readiness to provide any assistance that the Iranian agencies need,” the foreign ministry of the Gulf kingdom, a longtime rival of Iran, says in a statement.

Iranian search and rescue teams are scouring a fog-shrouded mountainside as Iranian state media says “an accident happened to the helicopter” transporting Raisi, a 63-year-old ultraconservative.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, Qatar expresses its “deep concern” over the helicopter carrying Iran’s president and foreign minister and offered “to provide all forms of support in the search.”

The Gulf state’s foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari gives “Qatar’s wishes for the safety of the president, the foreign minister, and their companions,” the statement adds.

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