Kianoush Rostami to Auction Olympic Gold Medal for Earthquake Victims

On Sunday, Iran experienced an earthquake that was deemed the deadliest of 2017 so far. The Iranian government and surrounding countries have mobilized into action to provide immediate earthquake relief. In addition to these major players giving assistance, Iran’s 85kg Olympic weightlifter Kianoush Rostami has stated he’s auctioning off his gold medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics to help provide funds for earthquake relief.

In an article originally reported by CNN Rostami states, “I consider it my duty to take a step, however small, to help my beloved fellow countrymen who have suffered as a result of the quake. I am returning the gold medal, which is theirs by right, to my people. I will auction off the medal and use the proceeds to help the quake victims.”

Reports of Rostami auctioning off his medal first came from his Intagram page. On his page, he’s posted two photos (including the one below) that state he’s auctioning off his medal for earthquake relief money, along with a video of explaining how he plans to help his country, why it’s his duty to, and how others can.

In addition to Kianoush’s gold medal auction, Iran’s semi-official news organization Tasnim has stated that multiple top Iranian athletes and sports celebrities are planning to give back similarly to Rostami at an event taking place this Wednesday.

This earthquake struck just after 9 p.m. on Sunday, and has been recognized as the strongest earthquake to ever hit the Western part of Iran. As of right now, the earthquake has claimed over 500 lives, injured over 7,000, and has left thousands homeless and in need of support.

Iran has encountered multiple earthquakes in its past, as it sits atop of the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates. The last severe earthquake that struck this country came in 2003 at a magnitude of 6.6. This earthquake claimed over 26,000 lives, and took years for the affected regions to recover.

Feature image from @kianoush_rostami and @integralxdx Instagram pages.