Crowds for Raisi Show Support for Iranian State, Supreme Leader Says

Crowds for Raisi Show Support for Iranian State, Supreme Leader Says

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Saturday that the large crowds of mourners who took to the streets of Iranian cities this past week to honor the country’s deceased president, Ebrahim Raisi, were proof of widespread popular support for the Islamic Republic and its system of religious governance.

Ayatollah Khamenei had declared five days of mourning after Mr. Raisi, 63, was killed in a helicopter crash along with Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and five others last weekend. Video from the Iranian news media in recent days showed large processions in honor of the dead, and crowds packed in to listen outside the University of Tehran on loudspeakers as Mr. Khamenei led the funeral service for Mr. Raisi on Wednesday.

“This mourning has proved to the world that the people are loyal to the president of the republic and to all who embody the principles of the Islamic Revolution,” Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese news channel, quoted Ayatollah Khamenei as saying on Saturday of Mr. Raisi, who had been considered a likely successor as supreme leader.

“The majestic funeral that Iran witnessed proved that the people are alive,” the ayatollah added, according to Al Mayadeen, which has long reported closely on Iran and Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group.

The Iranian state news agency IRNA also reported sentiments to that effect by Mr. Khamenei, although it did not directly quote him. The ayatollah was speaking at a memorial event for Mr. Raisi and the other victims at the Imam Khomeini Hosseinieh, an important religious site in the capital, Tehran, where Mr. Khamenei regularly holds meetings.

Funeral observances for Mr. Raisi and the others began on Tuesday with a procession in Tabriz, the closest large city to the crash site in northwestern Iran. Their bodies were then taken to the holy city of Qom and to Tehran before the funeral.

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