Iran seeks foreign aid as earthquake toll mounts

But following criticism from Iranian officials about the government’s mismanagement of the disaster, Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said current circumstances warrant outside help, according to an Iranian news agency.


Both the State Department and the United Nations announced they stand ready to provide assistance, but as of Monday they had not been asked.

At Monday’s State Department press briefing, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the offer of foreign aid remained open.

“We have said that we stand ready to provide assistance,” Nuland said. “We have not had any pickup of that from the Iranians. And in fact, there have been Iranian public statements in the last 24 hours saying that they did not see the need for foreign assistance. Nonetheless, our offer stays on the table.”

In New York, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the details would need to be assessed before it could provide aid to Iran.

“We have to be invited by the government,” said Eduardo del Buey. “We can’t just show up at the door.”

“We have had no requests for the Iranian authorities yet for any humanitarian assistance on the part of the United Nations, so we’re waiting to see what they decide to do,” he said.

More than 3,000 people were injured, 12 villages were destroyed and another 425 were badly damaged after earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.4 and 6.3 struck the Iran province of East Azerbaijan on Saturday, according to the AP.