The Latest: Netanyahu says Israel offered aid to Iran, Iraq
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The latest on developments from an earthquake in the border region of Iran and Iraq (all times local):
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country has offered the International Committee of the Red Cross “medical assistance for the Iraqi and Iranian victims” of this week’s earthquake.
Neither Iran nor Iraq has diplomatic relations with Israel. It wasn’t immediately known whether the offer was accepted.
Netanyahu made the comment during an interview broadcast to leaders of Jewish communities in North America.
The Israeli leader says his country has “no quarrel with the people of Iran.”
He adds: “Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction.”
Iran’s state-run news agency says the country’s death toll from the powerful earthquake that struck the Iran-Iraq border has risen to 530.
The report Tuesday afternoon by the IRNA news agency said the number of injured in the temblor now stood at 7,460.
The magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck Sunday night Iran time, just as people were going to bed. The worst damage appeared to be in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah.
Kermanshah, an almost entirely Kurdish province nestled in the Zagros Mountains that run along the border with Iraq, suffered all of Iran’s fatalities from the temblor Sunday night that shook 14 of the country’s 31 provinces.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says his administration will probe the cause of so much damage to buildings constructed under a state-owned program in the quake-stricken area along the border with Iraq.
The official IRNA news agency says Rouhani made the remarks while touring the quake-hit Iranian Kurdish town of Sarpol-e Zahab on Tuesday.
According to the report, Rouhani said that “the faults and shortcomings in the construction of these buildings should be investigated”
He pledged the “government will definitely follow up on these issues and identify the culprits.”
Many of the damaged buildings were built during former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration, though some of them were completed and handed over to the residents under Rouhani.
Under the plan dubbed Mehr, or “kindness” in Farsi, some 2 million units were built in Iran, including hundreds in Sarpol-e Zahab. Many warned that the low-quality construction could be problematic.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is promising to rebuild the country’s earthquake-devastated area in the “shortest” timespan possible.
Rouhani, who was visiting the area Tuesday, said his administration plans to support reconstruction with both handouts and loans.
He says he appreciates foreign countries for expressing sympathy with victims of Sunday’s temblor, which measured magnitude 7.3. The quake killed hundreds and injured thousands in the border region of Iran and Iraq.
Authorities say the quake destroyed more than 12,000 homes and local reports say many people are still in need of tents and blankets.
Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people. In 2012, a major casualty earthquake killed over 300.
Rescuers are digging through the debris of buildings felled by an earthquake that killed more than 430 people in the border region of Iran and Iraq.
The work is taking place two days after a magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck Sunday night Iran time, just as people were going to bed.
The worst damage appeared to be in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide the two countries.
Residents fled without time to grab their possessions as apartment complexes collapsed into rubble. Outside walls of some buildings were sheared off, power and water lines were severed, and telephone service was disrupted.
Residents on Monday dug frantically through wrecked buildings for survivors.