Iran's Raisi to be laid to rest in hometown

Iran's Raisi to be laid to rest in hometown

Iran's president Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash, will be buried Thursday in his hometown after two days of funeral processions attended by thousands of mourners.

Raisi, 63, died on Sunday alongside his foreign minister and six others when their helicopter crashed in the country's mountainous northwest while returning from a dam inauguration.

His final resting place will be at the holy shrine of Imam Reza, a key Shia mausoleum in the northeastern city of Mashhad, where the president was born.

Images published by Iranian media on Wednesday showed officials in Mashhad preparing for the final day of funerary rites.

Large photos of Raisi, black flags and Shia symbols were erected throughout the streets of Iran's second city, particularly around the Imam Reza shrine.

Massive crowds had gathered for a funeral procession on Wednesday in the capital Tehran to pay their final respects to the president, whom officials and media dubbed a "martyr".

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- whom Raisi had been widely expected to succeed -- led prayers for the late president, kneeling before the coffins of the eight people killed in the crash.

Among them was foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who will also be buried Thursday in the shrine of Shah Abdol-Azim in the town of Shahr-Rey south of the capital.