WASHINGTON — The United States on Sunday offered help and condolences to the people of Iran over a double earthquake that claimed 227 lives and injured more than 1,000 others.
"The American people send the Iranian people our deepest condolences for the loss of life in the tragic earthquake in northeastern Iran," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
"Our thoughts are with the families of those who were lost, and we wish the wounded a speedy recovery. We stand ready to offer assistance in this difficult time," the statement said.
The statement was notably addressed to the "Iranian people" and made no mention of the government of Iran.
The United States and Iran have no diplomatic relations and have been involved in a tense diplomatic standoff for decades, most recently over Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran on Sunday stepped up relief operations in shattered villages following a double earthquake which cost 227 lives and injured 1,380 people.
The first of the earthquakes registered a strong 6.4 on the moment magnitude scale, according to the US Geological Survey which monitors seismic activity worldwide.
The second, almost as strong at 6.3 on the scale, rumbled through just 11 minutes after the first. Many smaller aftershocks followed.
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