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Quake shakes Tehran's suburb

Tehran, Nov 13, IRNA -- An earthquake measuring 3.1 degrees on the Richter scale shook a town near the sprawling Iranian capital Saturday evening, but there was no immediate report on probable damage.

According to seismological bases of Tehran University's Geophysics Institute, the tremor hit suburbs of Roudhen, a town east of the capital, at 18:35 hours (1305 GMT).

Earthquakes near Tehran have always rattled the nerves of the capital's residents, estimated at 14 million, where many buildings are shoddily built and construction regulations are widely flouted according to the press.

The city straddles major faultlines in the Alborz chain, which are actively prone to earthquakes.

Experts have warned that most of the buildings in the sprawling Iranian capital would hardly withstand a strong tremor, blaming builders.

Iranians are still haunted by harrowing images of the world's worst disaster in 2003, in which more than 41,000 people were killed in the ancient city of Bam.

According to the Zurich-based Swiss Re, the earthquake in Bam on December 26 was the fourth largest in terms of victims since 1970. The third largest was the quake in Gilan, northern Iran, which left 50,000 dead in 1990.

Seismological specialists say Tehran could suffer casualties in million, if it is struck by a strong earthquake, like the one which hit Bam.

They say at least 15 years have passed since the probable occurrence of a major temblor in Tehran, making the city widely prone to powerful temblors.

Newspapers in the capital have always been quick to warn of apocalyptic scenarios whenever a tremor has hit cities in Tehran's vicinity and chided officials for paying no heed to the warning of seismological experts.

... Payvand News - 11/14/04 ... --

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