Tens of thousands of mourners gather in Tehran for Raisi’s funeral – Iranian state TV

Mourners hold up a posters of the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the mam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, May 21, 2024 during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Mourners hold up a posters of the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the mam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, May 21, 2024 during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Tens of thousands of Iranians are flocking to the streets of Tehran to join the funeral processions of President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Iranian state television says.

In the centre of the city, people holding portraits of Raisi gather in and around Tehran University, where Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is due to lead prayers for Raisi and his companions.

Huge banners have gone up hailing the late president as “the martyr of service,” while others bade “farewell to the servant of the disadvantaged.”

Tehran residents received phone messages urging them to “attend the funeral of the martyr of service.”

The processions, which will be attended by foreign dignitaries, are planned to set off from the University of Tehran and head to the vast Enghelab Square in the city centre, according to state media.

Nicknamed “The Butcher of Tehran” for his role in overseeing the mass executions of thousands in 1988, he led the country under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as it enriched uranium near weapons-grade levels, launched a major drone and missile attack on Israel, and suppressed the “Women, Life, Freedom” protests to deadly effect.

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