Official Sources Continue to Downplay Earthquake Devastation

Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, minister of health, has announced that a total of 306 people died as a result of the earthquakes in East Azerbaijan province on Saturday. According to the minister, 210 women and children, and 49 men lost their lives in hospitals. The rest, she said, were already dead by the time rescuers pulled them out of the rubble.

Aftab News, a website close to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, reports that many more probably died. According to the website, the official toll reflects a few dozen villages, whereas nearly 500 other villages have been destroyed upwards of 40 percent (including 80 which were completely leveled)….

Mohammad Reza Rahimi, first vice president of President Mahmoud Ahmainejad, visited the earthquake-stricken areas, and said that the government will rebuild everything there in two months. He also said that the government will support the families in the ravaged areas until they go back to work. Rahimi  >>>

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