TEHRAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyian met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday after attending the funeral of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials killed in a weekend helicopter crash.

Pashinyan was among several foreign dignitaries present at the funeral ceremony held in Tehran. No Western leaders were in attendance.

Khamenei presided over the start of the ceremony, delivering a traditional “death prayer” for the deceased officials before crowds reached out to touch their coffins.

Pashinyan recalled his “warm and friendly” rapport with Raisi and described his death as a “tragedy” during separate meetings with Khamenei and Iran’s acting president, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber.

According to an Armenian government statement, Pashinyan and Khamenei expressed confidence that Armenia and Iran will keep deepening bilateral ties.

“Our late president was very sensitive to the border issues related to Armenia, and these sensitivities and cares should still be taken into account. We should be able to secure our interests,”  IRNA quoted Ayatollah Khamenei as saying.

The Supreme Leader highlighted the historical-geographic similarities and common interests of Iran and Armenia and added that Iran’s policy of expanding relations with Armenia will continue under the guidance of Iranian Vice President Mohammad Mokhbar.

For his part, Mokhber assured PM Pashinyan that Tehran remains committed to “all the plans for the development of Armenia-Iran relations mapped out by the Armenian prime minister with Ebrahim Raisi.”

Meanwhile, Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonyan said that Raisi was due to visit Armenia soon. “That was very important for us,” Simonyan told journalists after visiting the Iranian Embassy in Yerevan to sign a book of condolences opened there.

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