President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed condolences to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the death of president Ebrahim Raisi and accompanying officials in a helicopter crash, press service of the president of Uzbekistan said.

“The bright memory of Ebrahim Raisi, who made a significant contribution to the development of comprehensive cooperation, mutually beneficial and long-term partnership between Uzbekistan and Iran, will forever remain in the hearts of our peoples,” the letter states.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed “words of sincere sympathy and support to the friendly people of Iran, as well as to the relatives and close ones of the deceased”, the statement reads.

The helicopter carrying the president of Iran crashed on 19 May in a mountainous region in northwestern Iran, near the borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Ebrahim Raisi was returning from the opening ceremony of a dam on the Aras river on the border with Azerbaijan, which was also attended by president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

Among those on board were also foreign minister of Iran Hosein Amir-Abdollahian, governor-general of East Azerbaijan province of Iran Malek Rahmati and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem. They all died.

Ebrahim Raisi came to Samarkand on an official visit in September 2022, where he conducted negotiations with president of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. This was the first visit of an Iranian president to Uzbekistan in 20 years. In the summer of 2023, Uzbekistan’s president made an official visit to Iran.