Iran Issued Request For US Assistance In Raisi Death

( – The White House denied a rare request from Iran for assistance from the United States after the country’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were killed in a helicopter crash on May 19.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the U.S. had made clear to Iran that it would strive to assist any government in the same situation, but that, ultimately, it was not possible for Washington to help in this situation. When pressed for further details, Miller said in the press statement the day after the crash that logistical reasons prevented the U.S. from assisting.

The U.S. has long had a strained relationship with Iran. In 2020, U.S. ally and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the global community to unite in opposition to the country, calling its government “the most antisemitic regime on the planet.” In April 2024, Biden warned that he expected Iran to launch an attack on Israel “sooner rather than later, following an airstrike against Iranian commanders at a consulate in Syria, which Tel Aviv has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for. A few days later, Iran attempted an aerial bombardment against Israel using drones and missiles, but most of them were successfully intercepted by Israel and its allies.

Raisi and Amirabdollahian were killed in the crash on May 19 along with Malek Rahmati, who governed the East Azerbaijan province, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, a cleric who represented the supreme leader in East Azerbaijan, the head of the president’s security and three flight crew. Despite having a reputation as a hardline ultra-conservative whose time in power was marred with protests and political instability, Raisi nonetheless attracted large crowds to mourn at his funeral.

Russia, along with China, expressed its condolences, and the Kremlin promptly announced that it would assist Tehran in its investigation into the crash. The helicopter experienced difficulties in the mountainous region after a sudden and intense fog.

Though Iran’s government has made no official claims yet, the tragedy has prompted some online commentators to speculate about possible sabotage as the root cause of the crash. While not elaborating on the logistical difficulties that prevent the U.S. from assisting Iran in its investigation, Miller did not hold back in his criticism of Raisi, calling him a “brutal participant” in “horrific human rights abuses.” He drew attention to human rights abuses against women and girls, in particular under Raisi’s leadership.

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