Iran to probe why state-built homes destroyed by deadly quake

Armenian PM extends condolences to First Vice-President of Iran on devastating earthquake

Strong Quake Jolts Western Iran

The natural disaster was centred 30.6km outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the US Geological Survey.

His plan is to donate the proceeds to families affected by the 7.3-magnitude tremor that shook Iran this weekend, according to PressTV.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has visited the quake-stricken area and promised the government "will use all its power to resolve the problems in the shortest time".

Iranian state TV said thousands of survivors had spent another night in makeshift camps or in the open.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif thanked foreign countries offering to help but wrote on Twitter: "For now, we are able to manage with our own resources". "The authorities should speed up their help", she said.

Television showed rescue workers combing through the rubble of dozens of villages immediately after the quake. Angry residents have been heard blaming poor construction quality and government corruption for the heavy death toll. "The rescue operations in Kermanshah province have ended", said the head of Iran's Emergency Medical Services Pir-Hossein Kolivand.

Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan sent a letter of condolences to First Vice-President of Iran Es'haq Jahangiri on the devastating quake that claimed hundreds of lives in the province of Kermanshah, press service of the government told Armenpress. Iranian police, the elite Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij militia forces were dispatched to affected areas on Sunday night.

More than 500 people were injured in both provinces and the nearby province of Kirkuk.

The Israeli leader says his country has "no quarrel with the people of Iran". But in the more isolated and worst-hit Sunni localities, Sunni charities-including those of Islah and Dawa Group, an Iranian Islamist group close to the Muslim Brotherhood-were said to have arrived on the scene first with tents and water.

Houses in Iranian villages are often made of concrete blocks or mudbrick that can crumble and collapse in a strong quake.

Some people were angry that among the collapsed buildings were homes built under an affordable housing scheme initiated in 2011 by then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Survivors desperately needed tents with elderly people and babies as young as a one-year-old sleeping in the cold for two straight nights.

Ahoora Niazi, who lives in Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah province, filmed scenes of ruin and posted the videos on the social media. "I don't know whether they are dead or alive", Rojan Meshkat, 38, in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj told Reuters by telephone. Searchers used dogs to comb the debris - just as they have since Iran's 2003 natural disaster in Bam that killed 26,000 people - although some clerics insist the animals are unclean.

Close to 200 aftershocks have hit the region since the magnitude-7.3 quake on Sunday night.

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