Xi Jinping on Death of Iran’s President: ‘The Chinese People Lost a Good Friend’

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) being welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) wit
Presidency of Iran / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Genocidal Chinese dictator Xi Jinping mourned the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, proclaiming Raisi a “good friend” of China.

Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and several other Iranian officials were traveling in reportedly foggy weather and died on Sunday after their helicopter crashed over the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan. The group was traveling back home from the nation of Azerbaijan, where they attended an event to open a dam on the Aras River, a joint infrastructure project with Baku.

Iranian state news initially claimed the helicopter suffered a “hard landing” and did not confirm the deaths of all onboard until Monday. The foggy weather that jeopardized the safety of the helicopter reportedly affected limited search and rescue operations. Initial reports in Iranian media claimed that at least one passenger on the plane, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem, Friday Prayers leader of Tabriz, survived for at least an hour after the crash, but the slow rescue operation resulted in his ultimate death. Iran refused international offers of support in the search and rescue operations, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the “supreme leader” of Iran, appointed First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber the president of the nation on Monday. The president is subordinate to the “supreme leader” and officials in Tehran are stressing that Raisi’s death will not change the nation’s relationship with the world or domestic policy.

China is one of Iran’s closest allies on the international stage, a fellow member of the BRICS anti-American alliance and one of Iran’s biggest oil customers. The Chinese state Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday that Xi reached out to Mokhber directly to express condolences and support for Tehran after the helicopter crash.

OHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 24: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa with fellow BRICS leaders President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of China Xi Jinping, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pose for a family photo, with delegates including six nations invited to join the BRICS group, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, during the closing day of The BRICS summit at the Sandton Convention Center on August 24, 2023 in the Sandton district of Johannesburg, South Africa. The BRICS summit, held in South Africa between 22-24 August 2023. The BRICS group of major emerging economies is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The 15th BRICS Summit, an international relations conference, is being held in South Africa between August 22-24 2023 with the leaders expected to discuss the expansion of the BRICS group and a BRICS currency. It is the first in-person summit of the BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - since the Covid-19 pandemic. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the meetings in person due to the ICC, International Criminal Court issued warrant for alleged war crimes. (Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and fellow BRICS leaders pose for a family photo with new BRICS members on the last day of the summit: Some leaders present on the closing day at the Sandton Convention Center in the Sandton district of Johannesburg on August 24, 2023, were Xi Jinping, China’s president; Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president; Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister; Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister; and Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi (Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images).

“Raisi’s tragic death is a great loss to the Iranian people, and the Chinese people also lost a good friend,” Xinhua paraphrased Xi as saying.

“Xi said that since President Raisi took office, he made important contributions to maintaining Iran’s security and stability and promoting national development and prosperity,” the report continued. “He added that Raisi also made positive efforts to consolidate and deepen the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership.”

Prior to Xi’s message to Mokhber, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Monday Beijing time expressing “deep concern” over the situation surrounding the then-missing helicopter.

“China is closely following the situation and ready to provide all necessary support and assistance for Iran’s rescue effort,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The Chinese state outlet Global Times published a story on Monday expressing the Communist Party’s confidence in Iran to avoid internal instability after Raisi’s death.

“Iran’s political system … ensures that Iran is unlikely to experience the kind of political instability seen in some developing countries where the political system is not robust,” Chinese regime-approved “experts” told the Global Times. “The likelihood of the country descending into political turmoil due to incident is relatively small.”

Khamenei rapidly announced Mohammad Mokhber’s ascent to the presidency on Monday for an interim period, leaving unclear if there will be a special procedure to succeed Raisi formally. Iran typically holds elections for the presidential position, which are neither free nor fair, as Khamenei has ultimate say over who can appear on the ballot for the presidency, in some cases shutting out prominent and powerful politicians such as former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and leaving no room for genuine representatives of the opposition. The Iranian Islamist regime, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, has been in power since 1979.

IRAN, TEHRAN - MARCH 27: Mohammad Mokhber first vice president of Iran speaks in the meeting of government managers about the slogan of new persian year entitled Inflation control, growth in production at the Ejlas hall, On March 27, 2023 in Tehran, Iran. (Photo by Borna News/Farzam Saleh/Iran Images/ATPImages/Getty Images)

Mohammad Mokhber first vice president of Iran speaks in the meeting of government managers about the slogan of new Persian year entitled Inflation Control, growth in production at the Ejlas Hall on March 27, 2023, in Tehran, Iran (Borna News/Farzam Saleh/Iran Images/ATPImages/Getty Images).

Raisi came to the presidency, after a long career presiding over the mass murder of dissidents, in an election marked by record-low turnout in 2021. Raisi is widely believed to have presided over the mass execution of between 5,000 and 30,000 peaceful political dissidents in 1988, many of them associated with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK). The late president would have been acting in the capacity of membership in the Central Committee of Iran’s “death commissions” at the time.

As president, Raisi prioritized Iran’s relationship with China. He spearheaded Iran’s induction into BRICS – an alliance consisting originally of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – in January. During a visit to China in February 2023, Raisi enthusiastically encouraged Chinese businesses to come to Iran and sought further participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing’s global debt-trap program for poorer countries.

“It welcomes Chinese businesses’ investment in Iran, and looks forward to more Chinese tourists coming to Iran,” Raisi said during his visit. “Iran firmly supports and will actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative proposed by China.”

Iran boasted in February that, in part due to Raisi’s effort, Chinese investment in Iran increased ten-fold between February 2023 and February 2024, from $300 million to $3 billion.

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