A 7.8 magnitude earthquake — described as the strongest to hit Iran in more than 50 years — struck the country near the border with Pakistan, killing hundreds of people, officials fear.

“It was the biggest earthquake in Iran in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead,” an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 5:44 a.m. Eastern time at a depth of 9.4 miles. The epicenter was in a wilderness area in southeast Iran, the USGS said. Tremors were felt as far away as India and the Gulf states.

People poured into the streets in the city of Zahedan when the earthquake hit. All communications in the area have been cut, the Iranian Red Crescent’s Mahmoud Mozaffar told state television, and rescue teams have been dispatched to the affected site.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


On April 9, a powerful 6.3 magnitude quake struck close to Iran’s only nuclear power station, killing 37 people, injuring 850 and devastating two villages.

Most of Iran’s nuclear-related facilities are located in central Iran or its west, including the Bushehr nuclear power plant on the Gulf coast. A U.S. Institute for Science and International Security map did not show any nuclear-linked facilities in southeastern Iran close to Pakistan.

… This quake also shook tall buildings in India’s capital New Delhi, sending people running into the streets, witnesses said. People also evacuated buildings in Qatar and Dubai, residents said.

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