“I understand that the damage is less than might have been expected for an earthquake of this strength,” he said at a ceremony marking the re-opening of the Security Council Chamber following its refurbishment. “Still, there are deaths and terrible damage. I express my profound condolences to the families of the victims, and to the Governments and people of both countries.
“I will continue to follow the news closely as relief workers and search and rescue teams reach the areas. The United Nations stands ready to help as necessary if asked to do so,” he added.
According to media reports dozens of people were killed in both countries when the quake struck the border region, with one Iranian official quoted as saying it was the biggest earthquake in Iran in 40 years with the death toll expected to be in the hundreds.
The earthquake measured 7.8 on the Richter and according to the US Geological Survey the epicentre of the quake was 86km southeast of Khash, Iran.
Initial reports put the death toll at 40, with officials saying that hundreds were feared dead from the quake.
According to reports the earthquake was felt in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan including Delhi, India’s capital.
A powerful 6.3 magnitude quake struck close to Iran’s only nuclear power station on April 9, killing 39 people and injuring 850 as it destroyed houses and two villages.
The deadliest quake in the country was in June 1990 and measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. About 37,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 injured in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan. It devastated 27 towns and about 1,870 villages, according to Fars news agency.