Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)
TT

Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)

A fire broke out at a hospital in Iran's north, killing nine patients, state media reported Tuesday.

The blaze started at 1:30 local time (2200GMT) at Qaem Hospital in the city of Rasht, some 330 kilometers (about 205 miles) northwest of the capital Tehran, state TV said, leaving six women and three men dead.

Chief of the city fire department, Shahram Momeni, said on state TV that an electric short circuit in the basement — which harbors the intensive care unit — malfunctioned, causing the fire.

Momeni said emergency workers rescued more than 140 people, patients and hospital staff, after being trapped because of the smoke, and that 120 of them were hospitalized in other medical facilities. He added that an investigation has been ordered.

A video posted online appeared to show smoke billowing from the hospital in the middle of the night.

Iranian media occasionally report on fires in hospitals and clinics that are mainly blamed on technical issues.

In 2020, an explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : US, SKorea Sign Joint Nuclear Deterrence Guidelines in Face of NKorean Threats

South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol attends a session of the NATO summit with Indo-Pacific Partners Thursday July 11, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol attends a session of the NATO summit with Indo-Pacific Partners Thursday July 11, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
TT

US, SKorea Sign Joint Nuclear Deterrence Guidelines in Face of NKorean Threats

South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol attends a session of the NATO summit with Indo-Pacific Partners Thursday July 11, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol attends a session of the NATO summit with Indo-Pacific Partners Thursday July 11, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The US and South Korea signed joint nuclear deterrence guidelines for the first time, a basic yet important step in their efforts to improve deterrence toward North Korea's evolving nuclear threats.

Meeting Thursday on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Washington, President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol commended what they called “the tremendous progress” that their countries’ alliance have made a year after creating a joint Nuclear Consultative Group.

The two leaders authorized “the US-ROK Guidelines for Nuclear Deterrence and Nuclear Operations on the Korean Peninsula” that was signed by their defense officials earlier Thursday, according to South Korea’s presidential office. ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea’s official name.

Last year, the US and South Korea launched the consultative body to strengthen communication on nuclear operations and discuss how to integrate US nuclear weapons and South Korean conventional weapons in various contingencies. The US has long promised to use all its capabilities, including nuclear weapons, to defend South Korea if it is attacked, but faced suspicions that it lacks plans on how it would exercise its extended deterrence for its Asian ally.

The consultative body was established as North Korea has sharply accelerated its missile testing activities and openly threatened to use nuclear weapons preemptively in potential conflicts, The Associated Press reported. South Korea has no nuclear weapons.

“The presidents underscored that the Guidelines document provides a solid foundation for enhancing US-ROK extended deterrence cooperation in an integrated manner," said a joint statement by Biden and Yoon.