Iranian rescue workers are on standby to fly to New York to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, the New York Times reports.
The head of Iran’s Red Crescent Organization, Mahmud Mozaffar, said, “We are ready to help the flood-stricken people of America. If American authorities agree, we can send our rescuers with equipment and tools to American cities in the shortest period of time.”
Mozaffar said the organization has “ample experience” in rescuing victims of storms and floods.
The Red Crescent Organization, which is the Islamic version of the Red Cross, is closely affiliated with Iran’s government, which may make it difficult for the American government to accept its aid. According to documents obtained by Wikileaks, American officials suspected the employees of the organization were operating as spies while providing aid in other countries.
According to the documents, which were released in 2010, Iran used the RCO to smuggle intelligence agents and weapons into other countries, such as Lebanon, in 2006 during the war with Israel. It was also alleged to have provided cover for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the most powerful military force in the country, to infiltrate Iraq and Lebanon. The organization has denied the allegations.
This isn’t the first time Iran has offered to send help to the United States after a disaster. In June 2010, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced that it was ready to help the US control the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Before the Foreign Ministry made its announcement, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps had offered its assistance.
Do you think American authorities should accept Iran’s offer to send rescue workers to New York?
[Pictured: Mahmud Mozaffar, head of Iran’s Red Crescent Organization]