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Iran Weightlifter Auctions Gold Medal for Earthquake Victims

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

At least 450 people have been killed and thousands are injured near the Iran-Iraq border after the region was rocked by a powerful 7.3 magnitude quake, authorities said Monday.

During Rouhani's visit to the quake-stricken areas in Kermanshah province on Tuesday, the president pledged to allocate sizeable fund for the reconstruction of the buildings. 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.

The natural disaster hit 19 miles from the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja along a 930-mile fault line that runs between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates.

It was 15 miles deep - a shallow depth that can cause broader damage - and was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, as well as in Turkey, Kuwait and Israel. There is not thought to be any immediate danger from the damage, although it is unclear whether power production might be affected.

Rescuers search for survivors in Sarpol-e-Zahab in the border region of Iran and Iraq.

"We need everything. The authorities should speed up their help", one homeless young woman in Sarpol-e-Zahab, where most of the victims died, told Reuters news agency.

By Monday, officials said all the roads in Kermanshah province had been reopened. "The most urgent need is to provide solutions for heating, housing and food", Pir Hossein Koolivand, the head of national rescue services, told state television. For more on these we turn to our Ro Aram...

Thousands of homes were destroyed in the quake, which rocked a region spanning Iran's western province of Kermanshah and neighbouring Iraqi Kurdistan.

Nine people were killed in Iraq and 550 were injured, all in the country's northern, semiautonomous Kurdish region, according to the United Nations. Nonetheless, it was the deadliest quake so far in 2017, killing about 400 people and injuring 7,000.

The Turkish Red Crescent has sent assistance including 33 aid trucks, 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets and food to Sulaymaniyah, and the military has dispatched a cargo plane of aid.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei sent a message for all citizens to "rush to the aid of those affected in these early hours after the incident".

Sunday's quake struck along a 1,500-km fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which extends through western Iran and northeastern Iraq.

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