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Last Updated: Friday, 2 January, 2004, 09:42 GMT
Bush denies policy shift on Iran
UN and US aid workers attend a local memorial service for Iran's earthquake victims
US aid workers are already helping in Bam's relief effort
US President George W Bush has said that moves to help Iran in the wake of the earthquake are not a sign of a thaw in relations with Tehran.

The US has sent aid and is easing some sanctions - senior Iranian officials welcomed the measures as a step towards better ties with Washington.

But Mr Bush said Tehran needed to do more if it wanted improved relations.

As the focus switched from rescue to relief, a child and a pregnant woman were the latest survivors to be found.


The woman and nine-year-old girl were pulled from the rubble on Thursday in the desert city of Bam, which bore the brunt of the tremor, the state news agency Irna reported.

Bush arriving at Falfurrias, Texas, on New Year's Day
We're showing the Iranian people the American people care
President Bush
A man was also pulled out alive and reunited with his wife who for six days believed she had become a widow.

In a city mourning the loss of up to 50,000 of its approximately 100,000 citizens, such stories offer a glimmer of hope.

But the number of people found alive a week after the earthquake struck has all but dried up.

Work has now begun to assess how Bam can be rebuilt.

President Mohammad Khatami has pledged to rebuild the city within two years, but the BBC's Alistair Leithead says the scale of the damage, with 80% of buildings destroyed or damaged, makes this seem an impossible task.


"What we are doing in Iran is that we are showing the Iranian people that American people care, that we have great compassion for human suffering," said President Bush as he explained his decision to ease some US sanctions on Iran.

Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani addressing worshippers in Bam
The magnitude of the disaster caused the whole world to cry. We will never forget the name of Bam
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Former Iranian President

However, Mr Bush told reporters the move did not signal a change in policy towards Iran.

"The Iranian Government must listen to the voices of those who long for freedom, must turn over al-Qaeda that are in their custody and must abandon their nuclear weapons programme," he said.

Mr Bush's message was not as upbeat as that of Secretary of State Colin Powell, who earlier in the week spoke of possibly resuming dialogue with Iran

However, the Washington Post reports that the US haa approached Iran about sending a high-level humanitarian mission to Tehran.

It would be led by Senator Elizabeth Dole, the former head of the American Red Cross, and include an unspecified member of the Bush family, the paper says.

Mr Bush was speaking on the day a memorial service was held in Bam to remember the earthquake victims.

The easing of US sanctions means that, over the next 90 days, donations from American citizens and non-governmental organisations can be made to groups in Iran without needing specific authorisation from the US treasury.

Sensitive technology, including computers and satellite telephones, can also be exported to the country.

Saved by a wardrobe

Aid workers from the US have already joined the effort to help survivors, in the first official representation by Americans since Washington cut ties with Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi welcomed Washington's move and said if it became permanent it would "create a new atmosphere".

Earlier, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said positive signals had been coming from the Bush administration for several months.

Former President Rafsanjani was among the mourners who came to the half-built central mosque in Bam to give his condolences to the people.

Earthquake survivors salvage belongings from their ruined home
Much of the city was reduced to rubble
The BBC's Angus Crawford, in Bam, says he spoke poetically of the palm trees that line the streets of Bam standing witness to the destruction around them.

Earlier 26-year-old Yadollah Saadat, was rescued - saved by a wardrobe that had fallen on him protecting him from falling debris.

He was taken to a field hospital in Bam and treated for dehydration and a broken hip.

His wife, Fatima told reporters she could not express her happiness.

State radio said the city had seen its first wedding since the earthquake - a ceremony initially scheduled for the day the quake struck.

Medical workers also reported more good news amid the gloom as three boys were delivered in a French field hospital and two girls delivered in a Ukrainian field hospital.

The BBC's Paul Anderson
"Once an elegant place, Bam is becoming a town of tents"

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