Iranians: After the Quake, Signs of a Changing Reality

This seems like a story that should have gotten wider coverage than it did, but I’ve neither seen nor heard it anywhere else. Here’s a news brief from the January 12, 2004 Newsweek:

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami said last week that U.S. aid to earthquake victims in Bam would not alter relations between the two coutries, which broke off ties a quarter century ago, and President George W. Bush said moves to help Iran do not indicate a thaw. But in the wake of the Dec. 26 disaster that killed at least 30,000 people and left tens of thousands homeless, some Iranians who lost loved ones are engaging in more reconciliatory dialogue.

They’re angry at their government’s inefficiency in coordinating help – and appreciative of foreign relief. “We’ve said ‘Death to America’ for 25 years, and now they’re helping us when we need them,” says Javad Alavi, hospitalized in Tehran. He lost 25 family members, but an American rescue team found his nephew. “They came here with their [search] dogs, which [the Iranian government] says is a dirty animal. But write that I love Americans and I love their dogs.”

Reported by Maziar Bahari