Iranian and U.S. authorities say a powerful earthquake has struck Iran near the Pakistani border, with reports of scores dead as authorities begin to assess the damage. The Iran Seismological Center said the quake had a magnitude of 7.5, while the U.S. Geological Survey put its strength at 7.8.
The epicenter was reported to be 86 kilometers southeast of Khash, a city of more than 50,000 people that lies near Iran's southeastern border with Pakistan.
Tremors were felt througout the Persian Gulf region and southern Asia, including in the Indian capital, Delhi, causing people to rush out into the streets.
|Magnitude 7.5, Sistan va Baluchestan Province
Tuersday, April 16, 2013 at 10:44:17 (UTC)
|Date - Time:||Tuersday, April 16, 2013 at 10:44:17
(local time in Tehran)
|Location uncertainty:||+/- 0.87 km in N-S direction
+/- 1.11 km in E-W direction
Sistan va Baluchestan Province
81 Km of Saravan, Sistan va Baluchestan
|Sources:||Institute of Geophysics, University of Tehran &
Iranian Seismological Center
In the first report of casualties, Iranian state-run television said at least 40 people had been killed.
But there were fears the death toll could be much higher.
The Iranian Red Crescent said rescue teams had been dispatched.
Hatam Narui, the governor of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, where the earthquake was centered, told state television the tremors lasted between 15 and 20 seconds.
Iran sits on a region with a history of seismic volatility.
A week ago, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit southwest Iran, killing dozens of people and injuring at least 850, according to Iranian state media.
Provincial Governor Fereydoun Hassanvand told state television after that event that the nearby Bushehr nuclear plant had not been affected.
Copyright (c) 2013 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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