close
close

US says ‘unable’ to provide aid to Iran after helicopter money | World news

The United States said on Monday it was unable, largely due to logistical reasons, to accept an Iranian request for help following a helicopter crash over the weekend that killed President Ebrahim Raisi, while Washington offered its condolences.

The rare request from Iran, which considers the United States and Israel as its main adversaries, was announced by the State Department during a news briefing.

“We were asked for help by the Iranian government. We made it clear to them that we would provide assistance, as we would in response to any request from a foreign government in these types of situations,” spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

“Ultimately, largely for logistical reasons, we were unable to provide that assistance,” Miller said, without elaborating.

The charred wreckage of the helicopter that crashed Sunday with Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and six other passengers and crew on board was found early Monday after an overnight search in blizzard conditions.

Iran has still not provided official word on the cause of the crash of the US-made Bell 212 helicopter in the mountains near the border with Azerbaijan.

Asked if he was concerned that Tehran might blame Washington, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said: “The United States had no role in that crash.”

“I cannot speculate on what may have caused it,” he added.

The crash comes at a time of growing discord within Iran over a series of political, social and economic crises. Iran’s spiritual leaders are facing international pressure over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program and deepening military ties with Russia during the war in Ukraine.

Still, Austin downplayed any U.S. concerns that the crash could have direct security implications in the Middle East.

“I don’t necessarily see a broader, regional impact on security at this point,” he said.

According to the Islamic Republic’s constitution, new presidential elections must be held within 50 days.

Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at the Brookings Institution think tank, said Khamenei and Iran’s security services will try to avoid any perception of vulnerability during the transition period.

“As a result, I would expect a skittish, reactive Iran that may be more risk-averse in the short term, but paradoxically more dangerous if it sees itself on the defensive,” Maloney said.