Iran's Supreme Leader approves Mokhber as interim president, declares 5 days mourning

DUBAI (Reuters) -Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced five days of public mourning for President Ebrahim Raisi following his death in a helicopter crash and confirmed First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as interim head of the country's executive branch.

Iran now has a maximum period of 50 days before a presidential election must be held to choose Raisi's successor.

"I announce five days of public mourning and offer my condolences to the dear people of Iran," Khamenei said in a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA.

"... Mokhber will manage the executive branch and is obliged to arrange with the heads of the legislative and judicial branches to elect a new president within a maximum of 50 days," he said.

According to Article 131 of Iran's constitution, a council consisting of the first vice president, the speaker of parliament and the head of the judiciary must prepare the way for the election of a new president.

Mokhber, like Raisi, is seen as close to Khamenei, who has the last say in all matters of state. Mokhber became first vice president in 2021 when Raisi was elected president.

(Reporting by Dubai NewsroomEditing by Gareth Jones)