Iranian authorities have been accused of ignoring earthquakes that killed more than 300 people after state television failed to highlight the disaster and the country’s supreme leader took 30 hours to express condolences.
As the official death toll climbed to 306, President Mahmoud Ahmadienjad’s government was criticised for a chaotic response to Saturday’s quakes in East Azerbaijan province, with tents intended for survivors allegedly ending up in the hands of “profiteers”.
Masoud Pezeshkian, MP for the province’s main city, Tabriz, said local people had been forced to ferry victims to hospital in their own cars and claimed many of the 8,000 tents sent out by the Red Crescent had not reached the affected areas.
Emergency calls for blood donors were first communicated on social media after the state broadcaster, IRIB, provided only minimal accounts on Saturday evening while broadcasting a comedy programme and coverage of the Olympic Games.
The 6.3 and 6.4 quakes destroyed a dozen villages and left an estimated 16,000 people homeless after they struck within minutes of each other.
Two of the most influential conservative newspapers, Keyhan and Resalat ignored the event on the following day’s front pages. Keyhan, considered to represent the views of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, instead gave prominence to a report about western “plots” in Syria.
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