Russia Says After Raisi Crash That US Undermined Aviation Safety with Sanctions 

20 February 2024, Venezuela, Caracas: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds a joint press conference at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry. (dpa)
20 February 2024, Venezuela, Caracas: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds a joint press conference at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry. (dpa)
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Russia Says After Raisi Crash That US Undermined Aviation Safety with Sanctions 

20 February 2024, Venezuela, Caracas: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds a joint press conference at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry. (dpa)
20 February 2024, Venezuela, Caracas: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds a joint press conference at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry. (dpa)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, commenting on the helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, said on Tuesday that US sanctions had worsened aviation safety.  

Lavrov’s statement came following talks with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mehdi Safari, on the sidelines of a regular meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers in the Kazakh capital, Astana.  

He said there is no reason for speculations regarding any potential changes in Iran’s foreign policy course after the death of Raisi.  

“I honestly see no reason to speculate on the topic of changes in the foreign policy course of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he noted.  

About the crash that killed his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Lavrov said: “The Americans disown this, but the truth is that other countries against which the United States announced sanctions do not receive spare parts for American equipment, including aviation.”  

He added: “We are talking about deliberately causing damage to ordinary citizens who use these vehicles, and when spare parts are not supplied, this is directly related to a decrease in the level of safety.”  

Abdollahian was scheduled to attend the SCO meeting, after his country gained membership in the Council.  

Iranian media had reported that images from the site showed the US-made Bell 212 helicopter on which Raisi was travelling slammed into a mountain peak, although there was no official word on the cause of the crash.  

Iran was a major buyer of Bell helicopters under the Shah before the 1979 revolution, though the exact origin of the aircraft that crashed was not clear. Decades of sanctions have made it hard for Iran to obtain parts or upgrade its aircraft.  

Meanwhile, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali said his country must complete the investigation into the crash of the helicopter carrying the country’s president and FM in order to draw any conclusions about its causes, the Russian Tass news agency reported.  

“Right now we must be patient,” Jalali stressed.  

“Naturally, we will see the matter and the investigation through to the end. Needless to say, the Islamic Republic of Iran and relevant ministries and agencies have already begun the investigation. And, of course, they will have a clear report and this report will be submitted to the supreme leader as well as to the people of Iran,” he added.  

The Iranian ambassador also said there will be no changes in Iranian foreign policy after Raisi's death.  

On Monday, Matthew Miller, US State Department spokesperson, said in a statement that the US had been unable, due largely to logistical reasons, to accept an Iranian request for assistance following the helicopter crash. 



Canada Navy Patrol Ship Arrive in Cuba on Heels of Russian Warships

The Canadian Navy patrol boat HMCS Margaret Brooke enters Havana's bay, Cuba, June 14, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
The Canadian Navy patrol boat HMCS Margaret Brooke enters Havana's bay, Cuba, June 14, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
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Canada Navy Patrol Ship Arrive in Cuba on Heels of Russian Warships

The Canadian Navy patrol boat HMCS Margaret Brooke enters Havana's bay, Cuba, June 14, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
The Canadian Navy patrol boat HMCS Margaret Brooke enters Havana's bay, Cuba, June 14, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer

A Canadian navy patrol ship sailed into Havana early on Friday, just hours after the United States announced a fast-attack submarine had docked at its Guantanamo naval base in Cuba, both vessels on the heels of Russian warships that arrived on the island earlier this week.
The confluence of Russian, Canadian and US vessels in Cuba - a Communist-run island nation just 145 km (90 miles) south of Florida - was a reminder of old Cold War tensions and fraught ties between Russia and Western nations over the Ukraine war, Reuters said.
However, both the US and Cuba have said the Russian warships pose no threat to the region. Russia has also characterized the arrival of its warships in allied Cuba as routine.
The Admiral Gorshkov frigate and the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, half submerged with its crew on deck, sailed into Havana harbor on Wednesday after conducting "high-precision missile weapons" training in the Atlantic Ocean, Russia's defense ministry said.
Canada`s Margaret Brooke patrol vessel began maneuvers early on Friday to enter Havana harbor, part of what the Canadian Joint Operations Command called "a port visit ... in recognition of the long-standing bilateral relationship between Canada and Cuba."
Hours earlier, the US Southern Command said the fast-attack submarine Helena had arrived on a routine port visit to Guantanamo Bay, a US naval base on the tip of the island around 850 km (530 miles) southeast of Havana.
"The vessel's location and transit were previously planned," Southern Command said on X.
Cuba`s foreign ministry said it had been informed of the arrival of the US submarine but was not happy about it.
"Naval visits to a country are usually the result of an invitation, and this was not the case," said Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío.
"Obviously we do not like the presence in our territory (of a submarine) belonging to a power that maintains an official and practical policy that is hostile against Cuba."
A Canadian diplomat characterized the Margaret Brooke`s arrival as "routine and part of long-standing cooperation between our two countries", adding it was "unrelated to the presence of the Russian ships."
Russia and Cuba were close allies under the former Soviet Union, and tensions with Washington over communism in its "backyard" peaked with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Moscow has maintained ties with Havana.
When asked what message Moscow was sending, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday the West never appeared to take notice when Russia sent signals through diplomatic channels.
"As soon as it comes to exercises or sea voyages, we immediately hear questions and a desire to know what these messages are about," Zakharova said. "Why do only signals related only to our army and navy reach the West?"
The Russian warships are expected to remain in Havana harbor until Monday.