Iran’s President’s Death in Helicopter Crash Sparks Conflicting Sentiments in Yemen

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-05-20 10:55 AM UTC


Countless Yemenis kept tuned to TV channels following the news of the crash of the helicopter, which was carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. After an hours-long search, the Iranian President was declared dead. Other Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, also died in the helicopter crash.

Raisi was returning on Sunday after traveling to Iran’s border with Azerbaijan to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev when the crash happened.

The accident has sparked conflicting reactions in Yemen, where Iran has considerable influence. While many Yemenis consider it a “fair punishment from God”, expressing joy, others displayed sorrow, praying to God to have mercy on those killed in the crash.

Anti-Houthi civilians in Yemen say Iran has played a key role in supporting the Houthi group to launch war on several Yemeni provinces, and the death of Raisi is not causing them any sorrow.

Nasser, 34, is originally from Al-Hudayah and lives in Sanaa. He told Sheba Sheba Intelligence that it is only the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group in Yemen that will feel sad about the death of Raisi.

He added, “We have not received any humanitarian aid from Iran since the breakout of the war. However, Iranians have smuggled countless shipments of weapons to Yemen. Such weapons killed Yemenis and contributed to prolonging the war. So, Why should I feel sad if Iran’s President died?”


Abdulrahman, 21, a university student in Sanaa, said the failure of Iran to locate the site of the plane crash revealed its modest technological and military capabilities.

He told Sheba Intelligence, “I think without the support of Turkey, Iran would need several days to find the location of the crashed helicopter. This is shameful for Tehran.”

However, other Yemenis said the death of Raisi was a fate, and it has proved that Iran is a stable country that will not collapse because of the death of any official.

Abu Maran Mohammed, a Houthi soldier in Sanaa, told Sheba Intelligence, “The death of Iran’s President is sorrowful. However, this accident does not mean Iran will lose its regional influence. Its support for all wronged people, including in Yemen and Palestine, will continue.”

Houthi officials also expressed condolence to the Iranian people. Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the Houthi revolutionary committee in Sanaa, says on X: “Our deepest condolences to the Iranian people, the Iranian leadership, and the families of President Raisi and the accompanying delegation on their reported martyrdom.”

He added, “We ask God to grant their families patience and solace. Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. The Iranian people will remain adhering to the loyal leaders of their people, by God’s will.”

The Leader of the Houthi group, Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, sent a message of condolence over the death of the Iranian President in the helicopter crash.

He said, “In the face of this great tragedy, we extend our condolences and sympathy to all their relatives and loved ones, to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Mr. Ali Khamenei, may God protect him, to all officials in the Islamic Republic, and the Iranian Muslim people.”

Mahdi Al-Mashat, Chairman of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, said the Yemeni leadership and people stand by the Iranian people and their leadership in these difficult circumstances.

Raisi won Iran’s 2021 presidential election. The U.S. sanctioned Raisi in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war. He is the second Iranian President to die in office. In 1981, a bomb blast killed President Mohammad Ali Rajai after the country’s Islamic Revolution.