Iranian president promises to investigate whether cheap housing contributed to earthquake deaths

14 Nov

Iran’s president promised yesterday to “identify the culprits” if it emerged that poorly-built homes constructed during his predecessor’s populist housing programme had contributed to the 530 deaths in  Sunday’s earthquake.

As western Iran continued to reel from the 7.3 magnitude quake, President Hassan Rouhani said the government would look into the Mehr housing project which was championed by hardline former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The project saw two million homes built across Iran but several of those apartment buildings collapsed in the city of Sarpol-e Zahab, where around half the earthquake’s fatalities were reported 

“Before its 10-year anniversary, Mehr buildings have turned into coffins for its inhabitants,” wrote the Fararu news site, which is aligned with Mr Rouhani and the reformist wing of Iranian politics.

Another reformist paper carried a cartoon of Mr Ahmadinejad taking a selfie in front of ruined apartment buildings. 

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