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Memorial Service In Bam For Quake Victims - 2004-01-01


A memorial service has held in the Iranian city of Bam for the estimated 30,000 people killed in last Friday's earthquake.

The mourners gathered Thursday at a local mosque -- one of the few buildings in Bam that did not collapse during the quake. Speakers included former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Reports continue to surface about survivors being found in the city's rubble -- the latest being a 27-year-old shopkeeper who witnesses say was pulled out alive late Wednesday.

Authorities are registering survivors as they try to determine how many people are left in the devastated town. Scores of foreign rescue workers, including an 80-member U.S. team, are involved in relief efforts.

President Bush said Thursday he is pleased that Iran has allowed U.S. aid into the country, but he also called for greater freedoms for the Iranian people.

Separately, Iranian officials have hailed the U.S. decision to suspend some sanctions against Iran to speed humanitarian aid to victims of the devastating earthquake.

The temporary move allows U.S. citizens to make direct donations to the relief groups working in Iran to help the quake victims. The United States cut diplomatic ties with Iran and imposed economic sanctions on that country shortly after its 1979 Islamic revolution.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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