chapter  6
Humanitarian motivations
ByTravis Nelson
Pages 11

On 21 June 1990 an enormous earthquake killed more than 50,000 people in northern Iran. It was one of the worst natural disasters in Iranian history, and countries around the world off ered aid to assist in recovery eff orts. Surprising many, Iran accepted almost all of this aid (refusing only assistance from Israel and South Africa) and in the aftermath of the disaster resumed diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Mauritania. The Tehran Times went so far as to declare this aspect of the earthquake a ‘blessing in disguise’ (Colvin and Fazel 1990).