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Iran blames US sanctions for crash that killed President Raisi

(NewsNation) — Funeral ceremonies are underway for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Tuesday as the country’s leadership faces an uncertain future of political and economic strain.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s administration is stressing the U.S. is not responsible for the helicopter crash that led to the deaths of Raisi and several others on board.

National Security Council coordinator John Kirby told reporters, “It is ridiculous that Iran would try to blame the U.S.” after Iranian officials said U.S. sanctions on aviation parts were the cause of the crash.

There is also a chance Iran could blame Israel along with the U.S.

Just a few weeks ago, Israel killed top Iranian military commanders in Syria, sparking retaliation from Iran. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Monday the U.S. had no part to play but that he wouldn’t speak on behalf of Israel.

“We continue to monitor the situation, but we don’t have any insights into the cause of the accident at this point, and certainly, I know the Iranians are investigating or will investigate, and so we’ll see what the outcome is once their investigation is complete. In terms of our force posture, I don’t have any announcements to make,” Austin said.

This comes after the Biden administration faced blowback for comments Monday offering “official condolences” for Raisi’s death. This raised some eyebrows as the two countries have been adversaries for years, and the U.S. previously said the president brutally repressed the Iranian people for four decades.

Kirby said the condolences are a “typical practice” that the U.S. generally regrets the loss of life but acknowledges that Raisi had blood on his hands. The State Department also said it made clear in a statement that the U.S. supports the Iranian people.

However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the administration’s response, saying, “I suspect many Iranians would rather Western admirers stop ionizing a man known as the ‘Butcher of Tehran’ for executing political prisoners.”

Iran also asked the U.S. for assistance in recovery efforts after the helicopter crash. While the U.S. said it was willing to assist, the State Department said Monday that it was unable to due to logistical concerns.