Armenia has offered to assist neighboring Iran after a powerful earthquake struck the Islamic Republic’s northwestern region last night.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province killed at least five people, Iranian state media have reported. According to early reports, at least 120 other people have been injured in the quake, which hit at 2:17 a.m. on November 8.
Authorities reported that heavy rains in the area are hampering rescue efforts, and details remain unclear. More than 40 aftershocks hit the area.
According to the Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations, Minister Felix Tsolakian has had a telephone conversation with Iranian Deputy Chief of Mission in Yerevan Ali Mohammad Mottaghi, offering to send rescuers to Iran and render “other necessary assistance.”
The Armenian official also reportedly asked the Iranian diplomat to convey his “condolences and words of support to the people of Iran, the families of the victims and wish speedy recovery to the injured.”
The statement does not say whether the Iranian side accepted Armenia’s offer of assistance.
The earthquake that according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Center struck 112 kilometers southeast of Iran’s major city of Tabriz was also felt in parts of Armenia.
According to the country’s seismic agency, in several towns of southern and central Armenia it was felt as an earthquake with a magnitude of between 3 and 4.
Armenia, which itself is located in a seismically active area and was hit by a powerful earthquake in 1988 killing 25,000 people, has an experience of participating in international rescue missions before.
In 2010, more than 50 Armenian rescuers participated in the international rescue and relief effort in Haiti after a powerful earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation.