Ebrahim Raisi was a friend to Russia and a wonderful person, the Russian president has said FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in July 2022. © TASS via Kremlin

The Iranian people have lost a treasured leader in President Ebrahim Raisi and need spiritual resolve to overcome the tragedy, Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

In a message to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Russian president offered his condolences following the helicopter crash, which claimed the lives of Raisi and several other Iranian statesmen on Sunday.

The late president “was an outstanding politician, whose entire life was dedicated to serving his nation,” Putin said in the message, as quoted by the Kremlin.

Russia knew him as a “true friend” who put much effort into improving bilateral relations and bringing the two nations to the level of strategic partnership, he added.

Having met Raisi on numerous occasions, Putin said he would cherish his memories of the “wonderful man.” He expressed his deepest sympathies to the families and friends of all Iranian officials killed in the incident.
“I wish them and the entire Iranian people spiritual resolve in the face of this difficult, irreplaceable loss,” he wrote.

The helicopter crashed in the province of East Azerbaijan, as it was transporting Raisi and several other members of an Iranian delegation following a meeting with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Governor of East Azerbaijan Malek Rahmati, and East Azerbaijan Imam Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem were also on board and died in the crash. (RT)