UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER has activated the International Charter: Space and Major Disaster to provide satellite imagery for the two strong earthquakes that occurred in Iran on 11 August 2012. This international mechanism was activated on behalf of the Iranian Space Agency, host of UN-SPIDER's Regional Support Office in Iran.
On Saturday 11th August, two earthquakes measuring 6.4 and 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale rumbled through the highly populated region of Azarbayjan-e Khavari in Iran, 53km from Tabriz.The earthquakes and killed 306 people and injured 3,037, according to Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi. He also said that "we are continuing the search for bodies", so an increase on the death number is not discarded. More than 16,000 people have lost their houses, they are having temporary shelter in 3,000 tents and thousands of blankets, food and water have been distributed.
The Iranian Space Agency, in its role as a UN-SPIDER’s RSO, represented the UN-SPIDER Programme in the "APSCO Training Course on Environment and Disaster Monitoring through Space Technology” which took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 22 November to 1 December 2011.
In October, the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) ratified a bill allowing the government to enhance its efforts to design and launch satellites and satellite carriers. Three years after Russia launched Iran's first satellite in 2005, another satellite --jointly designed by Iran, China, and Thailand -- was launched into orbit by China.