US blames Iran for flood toll, says ready to help
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday (April 2nd) blamed Iran for the level of devastation from major floods, and said Washington was ready to help, AFP reported.
Pompeo issued a statement in implicit response to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who in a social media post blamed US sanctions for a shortage of rescue helicopters.
"These floods once again show the level of Iranian regime mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness. The regime blames outside entities when, in fact, it is their mismanagement that has led to this disaster," Pompeo said.
"The US stands ready to assist and contribute to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which would then direct the money through the Iranian Red Crescent for relief," he said.
Vast stretches of Iran have been inundated since mid-March, killing some 50 people and disrupting major transportation and communications.
The Iranian Red Crescent said Tuesday it was preparing to accommodate 100,000 people as rain hits south-western Khuzestan province.
Pompeo in his statement also highlighted Iran's targeting of environmentalists "for attempting to help Iran prepare for these very issues".
Eight environmentalists appeared in court earlier this year on charges they were spying on military bases.