Claim: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi arrives safely in Tabriz amid news that his helicopter has crashed, according to an Iranian news agency.

Fact: On 20 May Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi was confirmed dead hours after his helicopter crashed in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

On 19 May, Threads user @starterpakistan claimed (archived) that “Mehr News Agency | Iranian Media” reported that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had safely arrived in Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan province, after news broke that the helicopter carrying the president, the foreign minister, and other Iranian officials had crashed.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check conducted keyword searches to find out if Mehr News Agency had reported on the Iranian president’s safe arrival in Tabriz, according to the claim in the Threads post. We did not find any such report claiming the president was safe. However, on 20 May Mehr News Agency reported on the crash site that was found by the Iranian Red Crescent Society with the help of a Turkish drone.

Similarly, on 20 May other reputed publications confirmed the death of Ebrahim Raisi after a rescue operation found the crash site. But none of them had reported on the safe arrival of the president in Tabriz, in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

Interestingly, a further search led Soch Fact Check to an X post by journalist Sabir Shakir, of ARY News, who had shared the same picture as the one in the Threads post, showing the president apparently disembarking from the helicopter in Tabriz. In his post on 19 May, Shakir also claimed (archived) that the Iranian president was “safe.”

However, in the comments of the above post, an X user shared the link to alamy stock photos that shows “Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visiting Firuzkuh after floods,” in July 2022. Several other photos of the event on the page confirm that the images are from his visit in 2022, and are not connected to the recent helicopter accident.

Flooding in Iran in July 2022 affected 500 villages and 83 million people, and killed at least 80 in a week. President Raisi visited the flood-stricken Firuzkuh region, The Strait Times reported. The article includes pictures of the president that match the photos on alamy, confirming that the image in the claim is in fact from 2022.


An X post by Sabir Shakir sharing the false claim garnered at least 842,000 views, 18,000 likes, and 3400 reposts.

Conclusion: Social media posts falsely claim to show the Iranian president’s safe arrival in Tabriz, after his helicopter crashed on 19 May. The image is from 2022 and actually shows Ebrahim Raisi visiting a flood-stricken area in Iran.

Background image in cover photo: BBC

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