"I do want to offer my country's assistance to the people affected by the recent earthquakes in Iran. We obviously have our differences with the Iranian government, but we do care about the suffering of Iranian people," Bush told reporters during a press availability in Cancún, Mexico.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is traveling in England, also offered her condolences to the Iranian people. She said, "We wish to support efforts under way to help those suffering as a result of this tragedy. The United States is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people in this time of need."
Wire service reports indicate that at least 70 people were killed and about 1,200 injured in the overnight series of earthquakes that ranged in magnitude from 4.7 to 6.1.
State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters at a March 31 briefing that the United States has not received any response from Iranian authorities regarding the U.S. offer of assistance. He said that the two governments have means of communicating, despite the absence of diplomatic ties, "should there be interest in taking us up on this offer."
The United States provided more than $5.7 million in aid to Iran following the December 2003 earthquake that devastated the southeastern city of Bam. (See related article.)
For additional information, see Humanitarian Assistance.
President's Statement on
Earthquakes in Iran
On behalf of the American people, Laura and I express our sincere condolences for the loss of life and suffering caused by the series of earthquakes in the Iranian province of Luristan. Our thoughts and prayers are with families and individuals who have lost loved ones. The United States stands ready to assist the people of Iran, and we hereby extend an offer of humanitarian assistance.
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