Five Uncomfortable Questions For Iran After Sunday’s Helicopter Crash

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This tragedy brought to light some serious questions that should be addressed by the Iranian authorities throughout the course of the investigation or at least by their media surrogates during upcoming press appearances.

Sunday’s helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the Iranian President, Foreign Minister, two other VIPs, and the crew has been the subject of conspiracy theories since it happened, with some even implying that Azerbaijan was complicit in this incident, though that line of thought was discredited here. Regardless of whatever the newly launched investigation determines was the cause, there are still five uncomfortable questions to be asked of Iran, which are as follows:

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1. Why Were Two VIPs In The Same Helicopter?

Standard operational security is for VIPs to travel separately in case of accidents or assassination attempts, yet Iran allowed its President and Foreign Minister to depart in the same helicopter. This is even more surprising considering that several of its military VIPs were recently assassinated after Israel bombed the Iranian consulate in Damascus. One would have thought that Iran wouldn’t take any chances after that, but such thinking was clearly wrong after witnessing what just happened on Sunday.

2. Why Were VIPs Traveling In US-Made Helicopters?

Everyone knows that Western sanctions have had an adverse effect on the Iranian economy, but few would have thought that Iran was still reportedly relying on decades-old US-made helicopters for transporting its VIPs. It already sealed a deal for Russian-made attack helicopters and even fighter jets last winter according to its Deputy Defense Minister so it’s unclear why it didn’t purchase regular Russian helicopters, whether then or some time earlier, and instead still relies on those old US-made ones.

3. Why Wasn’t There Any Signal From The Crash Site?

The then-Iranian Vice President claimed that contact was established with one of the passengers, yet for some reason the authorities couldn’t geolocate the crash site afterwards. That might therefore have just been a “noble lie” to manage the public’s perceptions at the time. In any case, it’s also interesting that the Turkish Transport Minister said that his country couldn’t find a transponder signal during the search, which he speculated was either turned off or that old helicopter simply didn’t have one anymore.

4. Why Did Iran Even Require Turkish Assistance?

Building upon the above, Iran requested Turkish assistance in searching for the crashed helicopter, specifically night vision-equipped aircraft. That was a wise decision since it was a Turkish drone that ultimately located the crash site, but this begs the question of why Iran even required that country’s help in the first place. It seems that Iran lacks night vision-equipped aircraft, including drones, in totality. If that’s the case, then this is a serious military-technical shortcoming that must be urgently corrected.

5. Why Did It Take So Long To Get To The Crash Site?

The helicopter reportedly crashed around 1:30pm local time on Sunday but rescuers didn’t arrive at the crash site until around a whopping 12 hours later sometime in the early hours of Monday morning. There was a heavy amount of fog, and the area is very mountainous and forested, but that just goes to show that the authorities can’t promptly arrive at any point in the country even during emergencies. It’s now a lot easier to understand why various terrorist groups continue to operate inside of Iran.

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This tragedy brought to light some serious questions that should be addressed by the Iranian authorities throughout the course of the investigation or at least by their media surrogates during upcoming press appearances. Some of these are shocking such as Iran’s use of decades-old US helicopters for transporting its VIPs while others are less scandalous such as the amount of time it took to reach the crash site. Hopefully some clarity will soon be forthcoming to counteract social media speculation.

Source: the author’s blog

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