August 14, 2012 - 18:44 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Iran said it is ready to accept foreign aid to assist survivors of two earthquakes in the northwest after initially declining offers of help, Bloomberg News reported.
“Our country has, on various occasions, provided help to victims of accidents in other countries,” Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said, according to the state-run Mehr news agency. “In the current context, we are ready to receive foreign assistance.”
Two earthquakes that struck the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan on Aug. 11 destroyed dozens of villages, killing at least 306 people and leaving thousands homeless, Iranian officials have said. The northwest is home to Azeris, who speak a Turkic language and are the country’s largest ethnic minority.
In the aftermath of the quakes, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said that Iran had declined offers from abroad and would be relying on its “domestic potential” for the relief work. The U.S., Russia and Switzerland are among the nations that have expressed their readiness to provide humanitarian aid.