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US blames Iran’s government for devastating flood damage

April 2, 2019 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is blaming the Iranian government for damage from devastating floods that have killed at least 50 people.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Tehran’s “mismanagement” of urban planning and emergency preparedness led to the disaster. He’s rejecting allegations from Iran’s foreign minister that U.S. sanctions against Iran are to blame.

Pompeo says the U.S. is sympathetic to the victims and is willing to provide assistance for flood relief efforts but only through the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif late Monday said U.S. sanctions have prevented Tehran from getting badly needed equipment, including relief helicopters.

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Iran has seen a decades-long drought but the latest flooding is also blamed on disregard for safety measures and construction near rivers.

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