Rescue operations have ended in Iran after two strong earthquakes that killed at least 250 people, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Sunday.
Another 1,800 people were injured in the quakes that shook East Azarbaijan province in northwest Iran on Saturday, the report said, citing Deputy Interior Minister Hassan Qaddami.
State-run Press TV said more than 2,000 were injured, while the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said the death toll could be as high as 300.
Scores of villages were destroyed or damaged by the quakes.
Qaddami, speaking to Fars, said a total of 110 villages were damaged.
"All those under debris have been rescued and the quake-stricken people are now being provided with their basic needs," said Qaddami.
Thousands of tents were set up throughout the stricken region, and tens of thousands of cans of food were distributed, Iranian officials said.
The quakes damaged historic monuments, including the roof of Shahabeddin Ahari’s tomb and the Qasem Khan Ahari house, among other sites, Press TV said.
Pope Benedict XVI said his thoughts were with those affected, as well as others facing natural disasters, IRNA reported. Other world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressed condolences. The United Arab Emirates offered assistance, IRNA reported.
The quakes struck near Tabriz, the country’s fourth-largest city.
The cities of Ahar and Varzagan are the hardest hit, Khalil Saei, the provincial director of crisis management, told IRNA.
The first earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.4, hit Saturday at 4:53 p.m. local time, 37 miles northeast of Tabriz, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which measured 11 aftershocks. Just 11 minutes later, a second quake, measuring 6.3, struck 30 miles northeast of Tabriz.
A series of aftershocks followed, including one measuring 4.4 magnitude, according to the USGS. There were no immediate reports of further damage or casualties.
Authorities asked residents to spend the night outdoors as a safety precaution.
Iran sits on major fault lines -- the collision of the Arabia and Eurasia plates -- and has been prone to devastating earthquakes.
Nine years ago, 30,000 people died in an earthquake in Bam in southeastern Kerman province. In 1990, about 50,000 were killed in a quake near the Caspian Sea.
The TPP, Monsanto, Rockefeller, Trilateral Commission, Brzezinski 2015-05-28 19:18
All hands on deck for global, economic, corporate dictatorship
There are dots to connect here. They're real, and they're spectacular.
Let me begin with a brief exchange from a 1978 interview, conducted by reporter Jeremiah Novak. He was speaking with two American members of the Trilateral Commission (TC), a group founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller and his intellectual flunkey, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Video: Who Owns the Federal Reserve 2015-05-28 19:52
It's not like we don't have half a clue who actually "owns" the Federal Reserve, but we just wanted to know, superficially, who the Fed itself claims it is owned by (and, additionally, how the agency justifies its unchecked power).
Apparently the agency never officially answers that question. See for yourself in the video above.
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Reuters is reporting that Monsanto is demanding a sit-down with members of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This international scientific body is being called on the carpet for reporting that Monsantoâ€™s most widely sold herbicide, which is inextricably linked to the majority of their genetically engineered products, is probably carcinogenic to ...
Amid Russia tensions, US nuclear bombers to conduct military drills in Sweden 2015-05-28 4:23
The Pentagon is planning to send nuclear bombers to Sweden for a military exercise next month amid growing tensions with Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
The warplanes, the B-52 Stratofortress, will participate in a naval exercise on June 13, Swedish general Karl Engelbrektson said.
They are set to fly from the United States nonstop and simulate a drop of anti-ship mines near ...
'Netanyahu to US: Give 50% more money, we'll shut up' 2015-05-28 4:55
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the United States to provide Tel Aviv 50 percent more money for weapons and â€śweâ€™ll shut upâ€ť on Iran nuclear talks, an author and investigative journalist in Philadelphia says.
Dave Lindorff made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday while commenting on a report which says Israel has asked Washington ...