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US Says Iran Sought Help After Raisi's Helicopter Crash

May 21, 2024
2 min read
The United States stated on Monday that its longstanding adversary Iran had requested assistance following a helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
The United States stated on Monday that its longstanding adversary Iran had requested assistance following a helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

The United States stated on Monday that its longstanding adversary Iran had requested assistance following a helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. 

Despite offering condolences, Washington remarked that Raisi had "blood on his hands," according to a report by the AFP.

US State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, revealed that although Iran did not have diplomatic ties with the US since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Iranian government approached them for help after Raisi's aging helicopter went down in foggy conditions on Sunday. 

Miller said, "We were asked by the Iranian government for assistance. Ultimately, largely for logistical reasons, we were unable to provide that assistance." 

He did not divulge details about the communication between the two nations, as per the AFP report. However, he implied that Iran sought immediate aid to locate Raisi's downed helicopter, which also carried Iran's foreign minister and seven others.

The crash occurred amidst reported quiet talks between the US and Iran in Oman, aimed at promoting stability following clashes between Iran and Israel. 

While offering "official condolences," the State Department stated: "As Iran selects a new president, we reaffirm our support for the Iranian people and their struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms."

The US administration clarified that the condolence did not signify support for Raisi. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby described Raisi as "a man who had a lot of blood on his hands" responsible for "atrocious" abuses, adding, "we certainly regret in general the loss of life and offered official condolences as appropriate."

As a judge, Raisi infamously oversaw mass executions of political prisoners in 1988, and later, his presidency cracked down on civil protests. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin indicated no change in US military posture following the crash, dismissing any broader regional security impact. He also denied any US role in the incident, attributing it to potential "mechanical failure" or "pilot error." 

Iran has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, former Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that US sanctions impeded Iran's access to aviation parts and, thus, the US was responsible for the crash.

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