Iran’s Supreme Leader, flanked by President Rouhani and high-level officials, addresses an audience in Tehran, April 3, 2019
Iran’s Supreme Leader has tried to ease regime in-fighting over the response to destructive floods across the country.
Addressing officials and foreign envoys on Wednesaday, Ayatollah Khamenei declared a nationwide display of solidarity with the victims, saying damage will be fully compensated after rescue operations are completed.
Throughout these calamities, the people’s efforts and the sense of affinity and mobilization were superb and the Iranian nation heroically intervened and assisted the authorities. It was thanks to this popular assistance and unity that the authorities managed to implement the preliminary measures.
The Rouhani Government was widely accused of a slow response to the floods, which began with heavy rains in northern Iran two weeks ago and spread across the country. At least 57 people have been killed and more than 60,000 homes damaged. There is a state of emergency throughout western Iran, with villages submerged and the town of Pol-e-Dokhtar cut off.
President Hassan Rouhani and the Revolutionary Guards, who have often challenged the President, have clashed over operations to contain the floods. Rouhani has criticized the Guards’ demolition of a railway in northern Iran as ineffective, while Guards commanders assert “there is no management” in rescue and aid operations and “no government official would dare” show up because of residents’ anger.
Khamenei — with Rouhani and the heads of Iran’s judicial and legislative branches on the podium — avoided any direct reference to the conflict on Wednesday, “I have stressed to the officials that the main step of reconstruction and compensation comes next and that these losses must be wholly compensated.”
The Supreme Leader used the occasion to issue his ritual denunciation of Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia:
The Zionist regime’s aggression over the years is a prime example of tyrannical warmongering….The tyrannical front is against the monotheist movement and America and its cronies like Saudi Arabia will not settle for anything less than abandoning monotheism.
In the confrontation of Monotheism and tyranny, the front determined by God to gain victory is the Front of Truth. That is, you the Iranian nation should persist in your movement and you will certainly gain victory over your enemies; you will certainly defeat the U.S.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 3, 2019
Rouhani: “Disgraced” US Blocking Aid
Before the Supreme Leader’s address, Rouhani told the audience of American perfidy in preventing aid with sanctions: “The enemies were shamed by blocking the Red Crescent’s bank accounts with the aim of blocking the donations Iranians abroad made for their compatriots.”
He said the US, which imposed comprehensive sanctions in November after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement, had been “disgraced”.
He pledged, “The enemies of the Iranian nation will definitely see how we will rebuild our countries and destructions.”
Last weekend, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchanged denunciations with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the State Department’s assertion that it would work with the Red Cross to provide assistance:
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2019
Zarif extended the attack today to Europe, complaining that the European Union had not set an effective financial channel to bypass US sanctions:
A year after US' unlawful abrogation of JCPOA, Europe can't muster political will to defy US' #EconomicTERRORISM. Not even by setting up a single banking channel for humanitarian aid.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 3, 2019
The EU has launched a limited Special Purpose Vehicle for trade in Iranian oil and other commodities and goods, but regime officials have denounced as being insufficient and carrying “humiliating conditions”.