By Syed Zafar Mehdi
TEHRAN, Iran (AA) - Iran offered condolences to Türkiye and Syria over Monday's devastating earthquake that struck the two countries, expressing readiness to help the victims.
Addressing a weekly press conference in Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani expressed "condolences and deep sympathy" with the people and governments in the two countries.
He said Iran is ready to provide necessary assistance to the two quake-hit countries, as the death toll continues to rise, especially in hardest-hit areas in southern Türkiye and northern Syria.
Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said the 7.4 magnitude quake struck at 4.17 a.m. (0117GMT) and was centered in the Pazarcik district in Türkiye’s southern province of Kahramanmaras.
The quake occurred at a depth of seven kilometers (4.3 miles).
Hundreds of people are still believed to be trapped under the debris of buildings that collapsed due to the high-intensity tremor in the two countries, the worst in decades.
Kanaani said Iran shares a "good relationship" with authorities in both Türkiye and Syria and is ready to engage its relief, medical and health institutions to help the victims.
"Considering the good relationship we have with authorities of the two countries, if there is a need for the presence of relief and health institutions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the earthquake-affected areas, we will fulfill our moral responsibility," he said.
He dubbed the offer of help "moral, human and Islamic responsibility" as part of good neighborliness with "friendly, brotherly and Islamic countries."
At least 284 people were killed and 2,323 others injured in Türkiye in the wake of the strong earthquake, Vice President Fuat Oktay said.
In Syria, at least 384 people were killed and hundreds of others injured, according to figures by the regime's Health Ministry and Syrian Civil Defense.
Iran's northwestern West Azerbaijan province was also struck by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in late January, which killed at least three people and injured thousands of others.