Prince Charles Visits Iranian Quake Site
Prince Charles met with earthquake survivors and discussed democracy with Iran’s beleaguered president on Monday in the first visit by a British royal to the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The heir to the British throne walked down dusty streets amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in Baravat, a village on the outskirts of the ancient city of Bam.
The city, in southeastern Iran, was devastated by a Dec. 26 earthquake that killed more than 41,000 people.
Entering tents, Charles met survivors who, for the most part, did not know their guest. One man offered Charles dates, the main produce of the region.
Charles’ visit prompted speculation that it was aimed at improving relations strained after the revolution, but the British Embassy said the trip had no political implications.
Charles and Nicholas Young, head of the British Red Cross, were there to assess how to help survivors, said Andrew Dunn, first secretary at the British Embassy in Tehran.
Earlier Monday in the capital, the prince met with President Mohammad Khatami for an hour. The official Islamic Republic News Agency said Charles described Iran’s recent signing of a protocol allowing unfettered U.N. inspection of the country’s nuclear facilities as “satisfying.”