Since March 19, most of Iran — 24 out of its 31 provinces — has been affected by flash floods triggered by the heaviest downpours in the country in at least a decade.
Over 60 people have so far been killed in the natural disaster, which has also forced tens of thousands of people, mostly in villages, to evacuate their homes and move to emergency shelters. Hundreds of people have also been airlifted from the affected regions.
Rescue workers — backed by the Iranian Armed Forces and locals — have been busy providing relief aid to the flood-hit areas under the supervision of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday exploited the national emergency in Iran to once again attack the Islamic Republic, claiming that Tehran’s response to the floods showed the level of what he called as “mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, however, fired back at Pompeo in a statement, which was also posted on his official Twitter page, on Thursday.
“It seems that the U.S. Secretary of State is unaware of the mismanagement of natural disasters in the US over the past two years, and hence opines—in an unprofessional, interventionist and demagogic manner—on Iran’s management of the horrific and unprecedented floods which simultaneously afflicted 24 provinces,” said Zarif.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 4, 2019
He advised Washington to mind its own business and address “the calamities of disaster-struck Americans who have been suffering from natural disasters for months,” instead of attempting to make political gains from the sufferings of flood-stricken people of Iran.
Zarif further said, “Apparently Mr. Pompeo has forgotten that the US federal government itself has shown to be incapable of providing sufficient relief in many regions affected by natural disasters, which have claimed the lives of thousands of Americans, cut off electricity and other services in affected areas for days and even weeks, and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
On Tuesday evening, Ayatollah Khamenei held a special meeting with senior government and military officials as well as heads of the country’s relief organizations for talks on the relief and rescue operations underway in the Iranian provinces hit by flash floods.
He urged the country’s aid bodies, military forces and people to join forces and help speed up the relief efforts.
A day later, the Leader also hailed the nationwide display of solidarity with the flood victims and assured the nation that the flood damage will be entirely compensated once the rescue efforts are completed.
Zarif further said in the statement that the Iranian people will successfully overcome the destructive impacts of the floods and will use the lessons they have learned in their response to this natural disaster to avoid future catastrophes.
“The great people of Iran will, with unity, empathy and with their coordinated efforts alongside their government, armed forces, and all public, nongovernmental and private organizations, and with the help of God, soon prevail over the impact of the recent natural disaster—building a better future using lessons learned to avoid repetition of catastrophes that have hit the lives and livelihoods of our cherished citizens,” he added.