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Iran’s Supreme Leader Leads Funeral Prayers for President

WorldIran’s Supreme Leader Leads Funeral Prayers for President

Crowds packed the streets of Tehran and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, performed funeral prayers on Wednesday for the country’s president, with senior officials from the Iranian-backed militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah joining the commemorations.

The presence of leaders from Hamas and Hezbollah — two key Iranian proxies in the Middle East — alongside an array of non-Western officials offered a stark illustration of Tehran’s international standing at a turbulent moment for the country.

The president, Ebrahim Raisi, 63, was killed in a helicopter crash along with Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, 60, and five others traveling with them on Sunday. Ayatollah Khamenei declared five days of mourning, and funeral observances began on Tuesday with a procession in Tabriz, the closest big city to the crash site in northwestern Iran. The bodies of Mr. Raisi and of the others killed were then taken to the holy city of Qom and to Tehran, the capital, ahead of Wednesday’s events.

Iran’s security forces implemented tight traffic restrictions for the city, the Tehran police chief, Col. Abdolfazl Mousavipour, told state television overnight. State television also reported that public transportation would be free on Wednesday — declared a national holiday — to make it easier for people to attend the funeral.

On Wednesday morning, state news media broadcast footage of huge crowds making their way to the University of Tehran, where the flag-draped coffins were housed in a large hall.

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