Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
The Secretary of State issued a terse, woefully inadequate message about the floods in Iran, and used most of the message to pin blame for the disaster on Iran:
On behalf of the American people, we offer our condolences to the victims of the recent floods in Iran. These floods once again show the level of Iranian regime mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness. The regime blames outside entities when, in fact, it is their mismanagement that has led to this disaster. They even jail environmentalists for attempting to help Iran prepare for these very issues. The United States stands ready to assist and contribute to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which would then direct the money through the Iranian Red Crescent for relief.
The Iranian government’s response to the floods has been poor, and the government bears some responsibility for what is happening, but there is no denying that U.S. sanctions have hamstrung relief efforts and continue to impede humanitarian assistance. Pompeo’s statement is little more than lip service, and it is clear that he was much more concerned to use the floods as an occasion to score points against the Iranian government than he was to offer meaningful help.
Pompeo’s statement has gone over like a lead balloon:
The difference is best expressed by the fact that in 2003 they even included a phone number so you could call to find out how your organization could avail itself of the licenses.
Pompeo's statement is a joke.
— Esfandyar Batmanghelidj (@yarbatman) April 2, 2019
US State Dept issues just an appalling statement condemning the Iranian gov for there having been floods. Just insanely shameless. pic.twitter.com/LRTSCU9rhR
— Ali Ahmadi (@AliAhmadi_Iran) April 2, 2019
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) April 2, 2019
my mother always told me that if you are making a gesture toward an adversary, do it graciously. this is the opposite. Offers help #Iranfloods while again harshly criticizing the government. does @secpompeo really expect #Iran to accept? https://t.co/G4G8exP71l (from @StateDept)
— Barbara Slavin (@barbaraslavin1) April 2, 2019
Especially absurd since the NY Times ran an article 2 days ago on flooding in the US, which included this tidbit: "The levee situation has become so grave that the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country’s levee system a D grade in 2017." https://t.co/6zDLsEmuVzhttps://t.co/f0hyLXBYA8
— Nicholas Miller (@Nick_L_Miller) April 2, 2019
What an extraordinarily graceless statement. Utterly devoid of sincerity or empathy. Astounding. https://t.co/GJ1BGyaiPL
— Jeremy Konyndyk (@JeremyKonyndyk) April 2, 2019
It is regrettable that the Trump administration takes such a vindictive and petty approach to all things related to Iran, and that is especially the case now when Iranians are experiencing a major natural disaster and could use all the help they can get. Iran hawks are very loud in professing their support for the people when they think it furthers their goal of regime change, but when it comes to offering practical assistance to Iranians in need they have virtually nothing to say. Pompeo’s crocodile tears are like all of the other feigned expressions of sympathy from this administration, and they aren’t fooling anyone.
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.