WASHINGTON   - The White House has expressed condolences to its long-time foe Iran over an earthquake which killed 37 people and damaged dozens of villages near its sole nuclear power plant. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden also said in a statement that Washington stood ready to “help the Iranian people in this time of need.”

“The American people extend condolences to the people of Iran for the devastation that resulted from the recent earthquake and aftershocks in southern Iran, particularly to those whose loved ones were injured or lost their lives,” she said.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the destruction that’s been caused by this disaster.”

So far, 37 people have been killed and 850 others injured in the 6.1-magnitude quake that struck Tuesday not far from the nuclear power plant in Bushehr. Iranian authorities said there was no radioactive release.