Iran pres­i­dent vis­its earth­quake-hit city

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The quake also dam­aged an army gar­ri­son base, killing a num­ber of sol­diers.

Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani ar­rived in Ker­man­shah prov­ince yes­ter­day to of­fer sup­port to those af­fected. “Rep­re­sent­ing the na­tion of Iran, I of­fer my con­do­lences to the peo­ple of Ker­man­shah, and tell them that all of us are be­hind Ker­man­shah,” he said in an on­line state­ment.

Iran’s for­eign min­is­ter, Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif, ex­pressed his thanks to for­eign coun­tries of­fer­ing as­sis­tance but wrote on Twit­ter: “For now, we are able to man­age with our own re­sources.”

The quake cen­tred about 19 miles out­side the east­ern Iraqi city of Hal­abja, ac­cord­ing to a US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey. It could be felt 660 miles away on the Mediter­ranean coast.

Seven deaths oc­curred in Iraq and 535 peo­ple were in­jured, all in the coun­try’s north­ern Kur­dish re­gion, ac­cord­ing to its In­te­rior Min­istry. BURMA’S mil­i­tary is­sued its most force­ful de­nial yet yes­ter­day that se­cu­rity forces had com­mit­ted atroc­i­ties dur­ing “clear­ance op­er­a­tions” in the west of the coun­try that have sparked the largest refugee cri­sis in Asia in decades.

The mil­i­tary said it had in­ter­viewed thou­sands of peo­ple dur­ing its month­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the con­duct of troops in western Rakhine state af­ter Ro­hingya in­sur­gents launched a se­ries of at­tacks there in Au­gust.

While the re­port ac­knowl­edged bat­tles against the Arakan Ro­hingya Sal­va­tion Army, it claimed se­cu­rity forces had “never shot at the in­no­cent Ben­galis” and “there was no death of in­no­cent peo­ple”.

Burma’s gov­ern­ment and most of the Bud­dhist ma­jor­ity say the mem­bers of the Mus­lim mi­nor­ity are “Ben­galis” who mi­grated

The op­er­a­tions have sparked a refugee cri­sis.

il­le­gally from Bangladesh, and do not ac­knowl­edge the Ro­hingya as a lo­cal eth­nic group.

The lat­est de­nial of wrong­do­ing con­tra­dicts state­ments from refugees in Bangladesh who have de­scribed atroc­i­ties by se­cu­rity forces and Bud­dhist mobs.

Some of the refugees suf­fered gun­shot wounds and se­vere burns, and those who have spo­ken to

jour­nal­ists and hu­man rights groups ac­cuse Burma’s se­cu­rity forces of mas­sacres, rape, loot­ing and the burn­ing of hun­dreds of vil­lages.

The mil­i­tary said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed se­cu­rity forces did not use ex­ces­sive force.

The re­port comes ahead of an ex­pected visit today by US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, who is due to hold talks on the cri­sis. A SER­BIAN court has is­sued sus­pended prison sen­tences for four sus­pects and ac­quit­ted three more who were tried in the 2008 torch­ing of the US em­bassy in Bel­grade af­ter a rally against Kosovo’s dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence.

The rul­ing at Bel­grade’s Higher Court comes af­ter years of wait­ing. A re­trial was or­dered af­ter an ap­peals court last year over­turned ini­tial verdicts against the sus­pects.

One per­son died in the 2008 ri­ot­ing when the US and other western em­bassies were at­tacked by na­tion­al­ists and foot­ball hooli­gans an­gry over what they per­ceived as sup­port for Kosovo’s state­hood.

Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple stormed the US em­bassy and set part of it on fire be­fore the po­lice ar­rived and pushed the crowds away from the scene.

The in­ci­dent soured has re­la­tions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bel­grade for years.

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