Standing at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Iran has been inspiring world culture since the days of the Persian Empire. Iran is the birthplace of lyric poets Rumi and Hafez, the inspiration for the Taj Mahal, a nation whose history is told in carpets 1,000 hand-tied knots at a time.

Home to roughly 80 million people, Iran’s vast terrain runs from seacoast to grasslands, desert, plateaus and jagged mountain ranges, setting the stage for frequent earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, hurricanes, typhoons and other natural emergencies. 

Relief International was created in response to Iran’s massive 1990 Manjil-Rudbar earthquake by Los Angeles based Iranian-Americans. The 7.7 magnitude temblor killed 50,000 people and injured another 135,000. RI was founded as “The Iran Earthquake Relief Fund,” and the creators sent food, shelter, blankets and other emergency items to those affected by quake. 

Fast-forward a quarter century: Today, Relief International is one of the few international organizations with the capacity and invitation to respond to emergencies inside Iran. 

With nearly 3 million Afghans, Iran is host to one of the world’s largest refugee populations.

For many of these families, Iran is the only home they have known.

Relief International maintains offices in Mashhad, Tehran and Yazd, the three cities that host nearly half the Afghan population. RI partners with government agencies and local organizations to support the most vulnerable Afghan refugees with job training and opportunities, access to healthcare and education, and cash assistance to meet immediate needs such as food and clothing.

In Iran, Relief International:

  • Provides cash assistance, and health and hygiene awareness to more than 2,500 refugee families, especially those headed by women, seniors and people with disabilities

  • Builds the fundraising and management skills of local non-governmental organization to conduct aid programs 

Learn more about our programs in Iran below.