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State Dept denies Iran’s rare request for US assistance after deadly helicopter crash: ‘Logistical reasons’

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The United States ultimately rejected Iran’s unusual request for U.S. assistance following the helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a Monday press conference that the United States “has been asked for assistance by the Iranian government.”

“We have made it clear to them that we will provide assistance, just as we would in response to a request from a foreign government in this type of situation,” he told reporters. “And ultimately, we were unable to provide that assistance.”

Asked for more information about the Iranian government’s request, Miller declined to elaborate. He said: “We said we were ready to help, as we would do with any government in this situation. In the end, we were unable to provide that support, mainly for logistical reasons.” I repeated.

Iranian president, foreign minister and other officials confirmed dead in helicopter crash

People hold posters of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a memorial ceremony in Vali-e-Azr Square in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The United States publicly expressed its condolences over the deaths of Iran’s president and foreign minister over the weekend, and also participated in a moment of silence for Raisi at the United Nations Security Council.

Miller defended the move on Monday, saying, “This is a step the United States took in recognition that people have families, and that we will never change our fundamental view of the Iranian regime and its crimes against its own people.” It’s not going to hurt anything,” he said. and our support for the Iranian people. ”

He described Raisi as “a person who brutally participated in the repression of the Iranian people for nearly 40 years,” including “playing a key role in the extrajudicial killings of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.” , and was involved in numerous horrific human rights violations.”

“Some of the worst human rights violations occurred during his presidency, particularly against Iranian women and girls,” Miller said. “That being said, we regret the loss of life. We don’t want to see anyone die in a helicopter crash. But that doesn’t stop the reality of his career as a judge and as president of Iran and he has blood on his hands.”

Iranian women mourn helicopter crash

People gather in Valiasl Square to mourn the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdullahian, and other Iranian officials in a helicopter crash during a ceremony in Tehran on May 20, 2024. . (Fateme Bahrami/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“Most importantly, our fundamental stance on Iran has not and will never change,” Miller continued. “We continue to support the Iranian people and protect their human rights and aspirations for an open and free society and democratic participation. In other words, we will continue to fight against a nuclear program that is completely unsuitable for civilian purposes.”

Iranian president dies in helicopter crash, UN observes moment of silence for ‘Tehran Butcher’ Raisi

Iran considers the United States and Israel to be its main adversaries.

Iranian helicopter crash site

Members of a rescue team carry out rescue operations at the scene of the crash of a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in northwestern Iran on Monday. (Ajin Haghighi, Moj News Agency, via AP)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin expressed concern that the Iranian government would blame the US or Israel for the crash.

“The United States had no involvement in that crash,” Austin said at a separate news conference. “That’s an obvious fact.”

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“I won’t speculate on what they will accuse,” he added. “They need to carry out an investigation to find out what caused the crash. There could be a variety of causes, including mechanical failure and pilot error.”

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