Crashed Iran’s President helicopter was US-made

The helicopter that crashed on Sunday with Iran’s president on board was US-made and may have been in service since before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to reports.

President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage were flying on a US-made Bell 212 helicopter, per Iran International, when it crashed into a hillside in Iran’s mountainous northwest, killing all on board.

The group was returning from a ceremony marking a dam opening near the country’s border with Azerbaijan, per Al Jazeera.

The US developed the Bell 212 in the mid-1960s in cooperation with the Canadian government, according to, and it was first put into service in 1971. Production ended in 1998.

Until the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran was one of the US’ closest allies in the region.

Experts said that the few details provided about the accident suggest that the helicopter that crashed could have been between 40 and 50 years old, per Reuters.

If true, flying such a plane is “simply suicidal,” said Julian Röpcke, Security Policy and Conflicts Senior Editor at Bild, a German tabloid.

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