USA Unable to Help Iran Due to ‘Logistical Reasons’ After Helicopter Crash

The United States said that it could not help Iran due to “logistical reasons,” following a fatal helicopter crash that killed President Ebrahim Raisi and several high-ranking officials.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller detailed the US response to Iran’s request for assistance. “We were asked for assistance by the Iranian government. We did make clear to them that we would offer assistance, as we would do in response to any foreign government request in this situation,” Miller said. “Ultimately, largely for logistical reasons, we could not provide that assistance,” he added without further elaboration.

The crash occurred on Sunday when the U.S.-made Bell 212 helicopter carrying Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and six other passengers and crew went down in mountainous terrain near the Azerbaijan border. The wreckage was discovered early Monday following an overnight search hampered by severe blizzard conditions.

Iran has not yet released an official statement regarding the cause of the crash, fueling speculation and concern. When asked about potential accusations from Tehran, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin firmly denied any US involvement. “The United States had no part to play in that crash,” Austin stated. “I can’t speculate on what may have been the cause,” he added.

The incident occurs amid escalating internal dissent within Iran over various political, social, and economic crises. Iran’s clerical leadership is under intense international scrutiny over its controversial nuclear program and its expanding military cooperation with Russia amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Austin downplayed concerns about immediate security implications for the Middle East. “I don’t necessarily see any broader, regional security impact at this point,” he said.

Under the Islamic Republic’s constitution, a new presidential election must be held within 50 days. This period is expected to be fraught with uncertainty and potential instability. Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at the Brookings Institution, highlighted the likely cautious approach by Iran’s leadership during this transitional phase. “Khamenei and Iran’s security services will seek to avoid any perception of vulnerability during the transition period,” Maloney noted. “As a result, I’d expect a skittish, reactive Iran that may be more risk-averse in the near term but paradoxically more dangerous if it perceives itself on the defensive,” she added.

Published by
Sher Alam