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Iran: Khatami Accepts U.S. Aid Offer After Earthquake

Abdare, Iran; 25 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami says Iran will accept an offer from the United States of humanitarian aid in the aftermath of Saturday's powerful earthquake. Khatami today said Iran will accept humanitarian aid, including aid from the U.S. government, because "help is help."

Iran and the United States do not have diplomatic ties, but the U.S. State Department yesterday offered to send food, temporary housing, and water-purification systems through the Swiss Embassy, which represents its interests in Iran.

Khatami visited the village of Abdare today to see the effects of the earthquake, which leveled nine villages and damaged 150 others. Some 230 people were reported dead after the quake.

Another earthquake hit northwestern Iran today, but serious damage has not been reported.