Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iranian Aid Official Again Blames Washington For Not Receiving Flood Relief Cash

Floods have inundated large parts of Iran since March 19. In this photo flood waters cover fields in oil-rich Khuzestan province. April 2019

Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has once again blamed U.S. sanctions for preventing foreign aid from reaching the country after floods claimed more than seventy lives and left up to 100,000 people homeless.

Speaking to the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), the head of IRCS, Ali Asghar Peyvandi, said that the International Red Cross Society (RCS) has approved 500,000 euros (approximately $570,000) aid for the flood-stricken people in Iran, but the IRCS has not received it.

Furthermore, according to Peyvandi, EU's aid money has also not been deposited in the IRCS' bank account.

"We have told the RCS that the sanctions imposed on Tehran should not harm the Iranian people," Peyvandi asserted, adding, "We have urged RCS to pave the way for financial aid to reach Iran, in any way possible."

Meanwhile, Peyvandi maintained that since IRCS' Swift and hard currency accounts are blocked under the U.S. sanctions, the society has not received a penny from abroad, so far. This claim cannot be verified. U.S. sanctions do not ban humanitarian aid.

Instead, the Red Crescent is reliant on non-financial help, such as a recent rescue package of boats and equipment worth €300,000 ($340,000) from Germany.

However, earlier on April 2, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had countered suggestions that Washington's sanctions are hurting relief efforts amid deadly flooding in Iran, accusing Iranian authorities of mismanaging the current crisis.

In a statement, Mike Pompeo noted that the 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 added.

Moreover, on its Farsi Twitter account, the State Department March 25 offered U.S. sympathy to the victims of the Iranian flooding and said it was ready to help.

"As always, we are ready to help, as we have been on the front lines of such [events] in other parts of the world," it said in a tweet that included an image of the flooding with the word "Condolences" in black.

There has been no public reaction from Tehran to the offer, so far.