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Mourners begin days of funerals for Iran's president and others killed in helicopter crash

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Mourners begin days of funerals for Iran's president and others killed in helicopter crash
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Mourners begin days of funerals for Iran's president and others killed in helicopter crash

2024-05-22 10:25 Last Updated At:10:31

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East.

For Iran's Shiite theocracy, mass demonstrations have been crucial since millions thronged the streets of Tehran to welcome Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution, and also attended his funeral 10 years later. An estimated 1 million turned out in 2020 for processions for the late Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was slain in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad.

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In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, mourners gather around a truck carrying the flag-draped coffins of President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in their funeral ceremony in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East.

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, a cleric kisses the flag-draped coffin of President Ebrahim Raisi during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, a cleric kisses the flag-draped coffin of President Ebrahim Raisi during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, Revolutionary Guard members carry the flag-draped coffin of President Ebrahim Raisi during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, Revolutionary Guard members carry the flag-draped coffin of President Ebrahim Raisi during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, a woman mourns as she holds a poster of President Ebrahim Raisi in a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The sign in the poster reads in Farsi: "Martyr President" (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, a woman mourns as she holds a poster of President Ebrahim Raisi in a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The sign in the poster reads in Farsi: "Martyr President" (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners try to touch the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, top, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, and Raisi's chief bodyguard Gen. Mehdi Mousavi, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners try to touch the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, top, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, and Raisi's chief bodyguard Gen. Mehdi Mousavi, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners try to touch the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, top, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, and Raisi's chief bodyguard Gen. Mehdi Mousavi, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners try to touch the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, top, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, and Raisi's chief bodyguard Gen. Mehdi Mousavi, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi/Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi/Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Women attend a mourning ceremony for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Women attend a mourning ceremony for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People attend a mourning ceremony for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, shown in the posters, at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People attend a mourning ceremony for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, shown in the posters, at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Whether President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others draw the same crowd remains in question, particularly as Raisi died in a helicopter crash, won his office in the lowest-turnout presidential election in the country's history and presided over sweeping crackdowns on all dissent. Prosecutors already have warned people over showing any public signs of celebrating his death and a heavy security force presence has been seen on the streets of Tehran since the crash.

But Raisi, 63, had been discussed as a possible successor for Iran's supreme leader, the 85-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His death now throws that selection into question, particularly as there is no heir-apparent cleric for the presidency ahead of planned June 28 elections.

“Raisi’s death comes at a moment when the Islamist regime is consolidated,” wrote Alex Vatanka, an Iran expert at the Middle East Institute. “In short, there will be no power vacuum in Tehran; nonetheless, post-Khamenei Iran suddenly looks far less predictable than it did just a few days ago.”

A procession Tuesday morning led by a semitruck carrying the caskets of the dead slowly moved through the narrow streets of downtown Tabriz, the closest major city near the site of the crash Sunday. Thousands in black slowly walked beside the coffins, some throwing flowers up to them as an emcee wept through a loudspeaker for men he described as martyrs. On Wednesday, a funeral presided over by Khamenei will turn into a procession as well.

The caskets later arrived in Tehran to an honor guard at the airport and then went onward to the holy Shiite seminary city of Qom. There, a semitruck surrounded by soldiers in fatigues at one point was swarmed by a crowd of mourners. Some beat their chests and wailed. The truck later picked up speed while others stood alongside the road, watching.

The bodies will return to Tehran on Tuesday night for services Wednesday.

It remains unclear what international presence that funeral will draw, as Raisi faced U.S. sanctions for his part in mass executions in 1988 and for abuses targeting protesters and dissidents while leading the country's judiciary. Iran under Raisi also shipped bomb-carrying drones to Russia to be used in its war on Ukraine.

“I don’t feel comfortable sending condolences while Iran is sending drones that are used against civilians in Ukraine,” wrote Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis on the social platform X.

United Kingdom Security Minister Tom Tugendhat echoed that in his own message on X: “President Raisi’s regime has murdered thousands at home, and targeted people here in Britain and across Europe. I will not mourn him.”

On Thursday, Raisi's hometown of Birjand will see a procession, followed by a funeral and burial at the Imam Reza shrine in the holy city of Mashhad, the only imam of the Shiite's faith buried in Iran.

That shrine has long been a center for pilgrims and sees millions visit each year. Over the centuries, its grounds have served as the final burial site for heroes in Persian history. It's an incredibly high, rare honor in the faith. Iranian President Mohammad-Ali Rajai, the only other president to die in office when he was killed in a 1981 bombing, was buried in Tehran.

Iran's theocracy declared five days of mourning, encouraging people to attend the public mourning sessions. Typically, government employees and schoolchildren attend such events en masse, while others take part out of patriotism, curiosity or to witness historic events.

Across Iran, its rural population often more closely embraces the Shiite faith and the government. However, Tehran has long held a far different view of Raisi and his government's policies as mass protests have roiled the capital for years.

The most recent involved the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, a woman detained over her allegedly loose headscarf, or hijab. The monthslong security crackdown that followed the demonstrations killed more than 500 people and saw over 22,000 detained. In March, a United Nations investigative panel found that Iran was responsible for the “physical violence” that led to Amini’s death. Meanwhile, Iran's rial currency has cratered after the collapse of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, destroying people's savings and pensions.

On Sunday night, as news of the helicopter crash circulated, some offered anti-government chants in the night. Fireworks could be seen in some parts of the capital, though Sunday also marked a remembrance for Imam Reza, which can see them set off as well. Critical messages and dark jokes over the crash also circulated online.

Iran's top prosecutor has already issued an order demanding cases be filed against those “publishing false content, lies and insults” against Raisi and others killed in the crash, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency.

No cause has yet been offered by Iran's government for the crash, which took place in a foggy mountain range in a decades-old helicopter. Iranian presidents including hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Abolhasan Banisadr both survived their own helicopter crashes while in office.

Iran's military, not its civil aviation authority, will investigate and later offer a report, authorities say. Iran's civil air crash investigators faced widespread international criticism over their reports on the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane by an air defense battery in 2020 after Soleimani's killing.

Meanwhile Tuesday, Iran’s new Assembly of Experts opened its first session after an election that decided the new assembly, a panel of which both Raisi and the late Tabriz Friday leader Mohammad Ali Ale-Heshem were members. A flower-ringed portrait sat on the seat Raisi would have occupied at the meeting of the 88-member panel, which is tasked with selecting the country's next supreme leader. Acting President Mohammad Mokhber also attended.

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, mourners gather around a truck carrying the flag-draped coffins of President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in their funeral ceremony in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, mourners gather around a truck carrying the flag-draped coffins of President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in their funeral ceremony in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, a cleric kisses the flag-draped coffin of President Ebrahim Raisi during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, a cleric kisses the flag-draped coffin of President Ebrahim Raisi during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, Revolutionary Guard members carry the flag-draped coffin of President Ebrahim Raisi during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, Revolutionary Guard members carry the flag-draped coffin of President Ebrahim Raisi during a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, a woman mourns as she holds a poster of President Ebrahim Raisi in a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The sign in the poster reads in Farsi: "Martyr President" (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, a woman mourns as she holds a poster of President Ebrahim Raisi in a funeral ceremony for him and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, in the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The sign in the poster reads in Farsi: "Martyr President" (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners try to touch the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, top, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, and Raisi's chief bodyguard Gen. Mehdi Mousavi, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners try to touch the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, top, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, and Raisi's chief bodyguard Gen. Mehdi Mousavi, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners try to touch the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, top, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, and Raisi's chief bodyguard Gen. Mehdi Mousavi, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners try to touch the coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, top, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, and Raisi's chief bodyguard Gen. Mehdi Mousavi, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who was killed in a helicopter crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi/Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in their helicopter crash on Sunday in mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi/Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Fars News Agency, mourners gather around a truck carrying coffins of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country's northwest, during a funeral ceremony at the city of Tabriz, Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Mourners in black began gathering Tuesday for days of funerals and processions for Iran's late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, a government-led series of ceremonies aimed at both honoring the dead and projecting strength in an unsettled Middle East. (Ata Dadashi, Fars News Agency via AP)

People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Women attend a mourning ceremony for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Women attend a mourning ceremony for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People attend a mourning ceremony for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, shown in the posters, at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People attend a mourning ceremony for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, shown in the posters, at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

People hold up posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. President Raisi and the country's foreign minister were found dead Monday hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders as extraordinary tensions grip the wider Middle East. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is headed into its final few weeks with about a third of the cases heard this year still undecided, including ones that could reshape the law on everything from guns to abortion to social media. The justices are also still weighing whether former President Donald Trump is immune from criminal prosecution in the election interference case against him, more than a month after hearing arguments.

The court heard 61 cases this term, and 19 remain unresolved.

Here's a look at some of the major undecided cases:

Donald Trump is arguing that former presidents are immune from prosecution for official acts they took in office and that the indictment he faces on charges of election interference must be dismissed.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that former presidents can’t be sued in civil cases for what they did in office, but it has never weighed in on criminal immunity.

The timing of the decision may be as important as the outcome. Trump’s trial in Washington, D.C., may not take place before the November election, even if the court rules he is not immune.

A former Pennsylvania police officer is challenging the validity of obstruction charges brought against hundreds of people who took part in the violent assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump faces the same charge of obstructing an official proceeding.

The issue is whether a law meant to discourage tampering with documents sought in investigations can be used against the Capitol rioters.

There’s a second abortion case on the docket this year: whether doctors can provide that medical procedure in emergencies in states that banned abortion after the court overturned Roe v. Wade.

In a case out of Idaho, the Biden administration says abortions must be allowed in emergencies where a woman’s health is at serious risk.

The state argues that its strict abortion ban does allow abortions to save a woman’s life, and doesn’t need to expand exceptions for health risks.

The justices are weighing whether to uphold a federal law that seeks to protect domestic violence victims by keeping guns away from the people alleged to have abused them. An appeals court struck down a law that prohibits people under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms. That court found that the law violated the 2nd Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” following the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling that expanded gun rights and changed how courts are supposed to evaluate gun restrictions.

The most significant Supreme Court case in decades on homelessness centers on whether people can be banned from sleeping outdoors when shelter space is lacking.

A San Francisco-based appeals court decision said that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Leaders from California and across the West say that the ruling makes it harder for them to regulate homeless encampments encroaching on sidewalks and other public places.

Advocates say it would criminalize homelessness just as rising costs have pushed the number of people without a permanent place to live to record levels.

The justices could overturn a 40-year-old decision that has been cited thousands of times in federal court cases and used to uphold regulations on the environment, public health, workplace safety and consumer protections. The decision colloquially known as Chevron calls on judges to defer to federal regulators when the words of a statute are not crystal clear. The decision has long been targeted by conservative and business interests who say Chevron robs judges of their authority and gives too much power to regulators.

Three cases remain unresolved at the intersection of social media and government.

Two cases involve social media laws in Texas and Florida that would limit how Facebook, TikTok, X, YouTube and other social media platforms regulate content posted by their users. While the details vary, both laws aimed to address conservative complaints that the social media companies were liberal-leaning and censored users based on their viewpoints, especially on the political right.

In the third case, Republican-led states are suing the Biden administration over how far the federal government can go to combat controversial social media posts on topics including COVID-19 and election security. A federal appeals court sided with the states in finding that administration officials unconstitutionally coerced the platforms to limit conservative points of view.

The Supreme Court controls the fate of a nationwide settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma that would allocate billions of dollars to combat the opioid epidemic, but also provide a legal shield for members of the Sackler family who own the company. The settlement has been on hold since last summer after the Supreme Court agreed to weigh in.

Republican-led, energy-producing states and the steel industry want the court to put the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution-fighting “good neighbor” plan on hold while legal challenges continue. The plan aims to protect downwind states that receive unwanted air pollution from other states.

Another important regulatory case could strip the SEC of a major tool in fighting securities fraud and have far-reaching effects on other regulatory agencies. The court is being asked to rule that people facing civil fraud complaints have the right to a jury trial in federal court.

Follow the AP's coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court at https://apnews.com/hub/us-supreme-court.

Visitors pose for photographs outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Visitors pose for photographs outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Visitors pose for photographs outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Visitors pose for photographs outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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