Two strong earthquakes in northern Iran leveled more than 100 villages this weekend, killing hundreds of people and prompting offers of assistance from around the world. Turkey, Australia, Britain and even the United States have offered disaster aid to the nation after back-to-back 6.0 earthquakes stuck the country on Saturday, killing as many as 300 people and injuring thousands more. However, the country has refused all aid offers, saying it has the resources to deal with the disaster on its own.
The United States and Iran have no formal diplomatic relations and have spent years battling via sanctions and threats over the Iranian nuclear program. It's economy has suffered as a result of severe restriction on its oil exports and other restrictions that have made it difficult to do business there. However, even tragedies of these proportions seem to fail to bring the country backback into the international community. Perhaps its because the offers don't come with promises to ease sanctions or serious offers to re-open diplomatic channels. (The U.S. offer of assistance specifically did not refer to the Iranian government, just the "people.") Or perhaps because they know that as soon as the cleanup is over, the standoff will pick up right where it left off. Given the continued U.S. presence in the crowded Persian Gulf. It's easy to see why everyone is skeptical of turning tragedy into a breakthrough.
The Iranian government has offered loans and grants to help people quickly rebuild their homes and the Red Crescent has quickly moved into to deliver supplies. Most of the region was left without power and residents have been sleeping outside to escape more than 60 aftershocks that have struck since Saturday.