Putin, Hamas offer condolences over deaths of Iranian president, officials

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Islamic group Hamas have expressed their condolences over the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and others in a helicopter crash.

Putin, in a statement released through the presidential office on Monday, offered his "deepest condolences on the great tragedy that has befallen the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Putin's statement called Raisi "an outstanding politician" and said "as a true friend of Russia, he made an invaluable personal contribution to the development of good-neighborly relations between our countries and made great efforts to bring them to the level of strategic partnership."
Iran-backed Islamic group Hamas also released a statement on Monday. It hails the leaders killed in the crash, saying they supported the "legitimate struggle" of the Palestinian people and provided valued support to the Palestinian resistance.

It says Hamas expresses its "shared feelings of sadness and pain with the brotherly Iranian people and our complete solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran in this painful incident."

The statement also expresses confidence that Iran will be able to "overcome the repercussions of this great loss."

European Union Council President Charles Michel offered his condolences on social media.

Michel wrote that the "EU expresses its sincere condolences for the death of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Abdollahian, as well as other members of their delegation and crew in a helicopter accident. Our thoughts go to the families."

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa told reporters on Monday that he had held direct talks with President Raisi in the past. He said Japan expresses its deepest condolences to Iran's government and people and the bereaved families of the leaders.

When questioned on how the development will impact the Middle East situation, Hayashi said he would refrain from speculating. But he said Japan attaches importance to peace and stability in the Middle East, and will continue to carefully monitor the situation.