EghtesadOnline: Iranian officials extended their sympathy to the people of Lebanon over the death and injury of thousands in a massive warehouse explosion in Beirut on Tuesday and expressed Iran’s readiness to provide assistance.
President Hassan Rouhani sent a message to his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Aoun, saying the catastrophic incident caused deep sorrow to all Iranians.
“On behalf of the Iranian nation and government, I hereby extend my commiseration to the families of the victims and offer my condolences to your Excellency and the people of the friendly and brotherly country,” he said, President.ir reported.
He also expressed Iran’s readiness to send health and medical aid to Beirut for the treatment of the injured.
The explosion happened at port warehouses that stored highly explosive material, sending a devastating blast wave across Beirut, killing at least 100 people and injuring nearly 4,000.
It sent a mushroom cloud into the sky and rattled windows on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, about 160 km away.
The blast was reportedly the most powerful ever to rip through Beirut, a city still scarred by civil war three decades ago and reeling from an economic meltdown and a surge in coronavirus infections.
Initial investigations indicate years of inaction and negligence over the storage of highly explosive material in Beirut port caused the blast, an official source familiar with the findings told Reuters.
President Aoun said 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures. He called it “unacceptable”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Twitter to sympathize with the Lebanese nation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon… Stay strong, Lebanon,” he said.
He added that Iran is fully prepared to provide assistance in any way necessary.
Zarif later spoke to Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe on the phone to offer condolences.
“Iran stands by the nation and government of Lebanon at all levels,” he said, according to IRNA.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the incident as “unfortunate” and “worrying”, saying Iran is closely following the developments with great sadness and is ready to help at any level.
Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said the incident broke the hearts of Iranians.
“I sent my special condolences to the fighters of Hezbollah and the dear resistance leader Hassan Nasrallah,” he said.
He called on the Iranian Red Crescent Society to provide assistance to Lebanese aid workers.
The relief society’s spokesman, Mohammad Nasiri, said 2,000 packages containing 9 tons of food, medicine and medical equipment are to be sent to the area within 72 hours.
The IRCS will also help in setting up field hospitals and dispatch medical teams, including general practitioners, orthopedists, anesthesiologists, operating room specialists, pediatricians, neurologists, nurses and field hospital specialists, according to Nasiri.
“This medical team consists of 22 staff members who will set off for Beirut this evening by a plane,” he said.
He said the relief packages have been sent following the announcement by George Kettani, head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, about the country’s need for humanitarian aid.