Unprecedented flooding hits Iran, forces evacuations

People stand near a flooded street after a flash flooding in Shiraz, Iran, on March 26, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Unprecedented flooding hits Iran, forces evacuations

  • At least 23 people have been confirmed dead, officials said, and more than 200 sustained injuries

GENEVA/LONDON: Heavy flooding continued in Iran on Tuesday as many provinces geared up for days of waterlogged misery and authorities warned of possible floods in the capital Tehran as well the oil-rich south. President Hassan Rouhani promised compensation for all financial losses and called for the armed forces to help in flooded areas. "I ask the army and the Revolutionary Guards to help with removing the water and with engineering work in which they have significant capabilities and tools," Rouhani was quoted as saying on Tuesday at a meeting of a government crisis group.
Rouhani’s hardline rivals have accused the government of doing too little, too late.
In a meeting broadcast on state television, the president said: "When a city goes under water because of a flood and neighbourhoods face this problem, removing the water is a difficult, heavy task."
The head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, said that officials who mishandled the disaster and caused the death of civilians could face prosecution, Fars news agency reported.
At least 23 people have been confirmed dead, officials said, and more than 200 sustained injuries.
The flood has blocked a highway in eastern Tehran, state media said.
Videos posted on social media showed cars driving in flooded roads in southeast districts of the capital. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the videos.

Iran is celebrating the Nowrouz new year holidays, a time when many families travel around the country, but police asked people to avoid unnecessary journeys.
State television said several villages near rivers and dams in different provinces had been evacuated.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and thousands put in emergency shelters provided by the government, state media said.
The country's crude oil pipelines have avoided damage from flooding and the transfer of oil is taking place normally, Iranian Oil Pipeline and Telecommunication Co director Abbasali Jafarinasab was quoted as saying by the oil ministry's SHANA news website.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement that it was ready to offer help to Iran, but "challenges caused by unilateral sanctions will affect the UN response and the accountability of UN to deliver the appropriate support".
U.S. President Donald Trump last year abandoned a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.


Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

Updated 23 May 2019
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Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

  • The commander said they will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for their enemies
  • Tensions between Iran and US escalated after Trump restored sanctions

GENEVA: The standoff between Iran and the United States is a “clash of wills,” a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, suggesting any enemy “adventurism” would meet a crushing response, Fars news agency reported.
Tensions have spiked between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.
“The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.
He pointed to a battle during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war where Iran was victorious and said the outcome could be a message that Iran will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for any enemy “adventurism.”
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!“
Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
Trump wants Iran to come to the negotiating table to reach a new deal with more curbs on its nuclear and missile programs.
Reiterating Iran’s stance, the spokesman for its Supreme National Security Council said on Thursday that “There will not be any negotiations between Iran and America.”
Keyvan Khosravi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster that some officials from several countries have visited Iran recently, “mostly representing the United States.”
He did not elaborate, but the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday.
“Without exception, the message of the power and resistance of the Iranian nation was conveyed to them,” he said.
In Berlin, a German diplomatic source told Reuters that Jens Ploetner, a political director in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, was in Tehran on Thursday for meetings with Iranian officials to try to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and cool tensions in the region.