Tehran, Nov 15 : Iran President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to “find the culprits” responsible for buildings collapsing in a 7.3-magnitude earthquake on Sunday.
He suggested that government-built buildings had collapsed while privately-built ones remained standing, BBC reported on Tuesday.
As he spoke in the worst-affected city, Sarpol-e Zahab, he gestured to two buildings, one of which had collapsed while the other had not.
More than 400 people were killed and close to 8,000 injured in the quake.
Although an earlier report from the state news agency Irna said 530 people had died, the death toll was later revised downward, to 432. But many more people are thought to have died and been buried without death certificates, meaning they are not included in the official figures.
The government is scrambling to get aid to Kermanshah province in the west of the country, where hundreds of homes were destroyed and people have spent two nights outdoors in the cold.
President Rouhani visited the region on Tuesday – a national day of mourning – and made an address that was broadcast live on TV.
He said the government would lend and give money to those left homeless, and hold accountable anyone found not to have upheld building standards.
“Who is to be blamed?” he asked.
“These are the issues that we should follow, we should find the culprits and people are waiting for us to introduce the culprits.
“We will do that, we will do that.”
A photograph circulating on social media shows an unaffected private building next to a collapsed building that was part of the Mehr project, a scheme created by previous President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to build two million housing units for people on low incomes.
Mehr is Farsi for kindness, and under the scheme hundreds of homes were built in Sarpol-e Zahab.
“Pay attention, please, that some of these houses are very new, some of them have been built by the government and they are not very old,” Rouhani said.
“However, you can see that some buildings collapsed. How could that happen?”