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China Expresses Deep Concern over Iran Earthquake

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Friday evening expressed China's deep concern over a strong earthquake that jolted Iran's Kerman province Friday morning.

Liu said the calamity has caused heavy casualties and assets losses. 

The Chinese government has decided to offer 5 million yuan (US$602,000) worth of emergency aid to Iran, Liu said.

China's Red Cross has also provided US$100,000 to Iran's Red Crescent to help cope with the mishap, the spokesman said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has sent a letter of condolences earlier in the evening to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Khatami to express his sympathy and solicitude.

Hu, on behalf of the Chinese government and people as well as in his own name, expressed sympathy and solicitude for Khatami, relatives of the victims and the people of the disaster-stricken areas.

He also expressed the belief that the Iranian people will be able to overcome the disaster and rebuild their homeland under the leadership of President Khatami.

A strong earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck central Iran's Kerman province on Friday morning.

Although the regional interior ministry still could not confirm the actual death toll, it was feared that several thousand people could have been killed in the mishap.
(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2003)

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