Earthquake of magnitude 5.2 strikes near Iran's capital

  • World
  • Thursday, 21 Dec 2017

LONDON (Reuters) - An earthquake of magnitude 5.2 struck a town near the Iranian capital Tehran on Wednesday night, state media reported, but there were no initial reports of casualties or significant damage.

Last month, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit villages and towns in Iran's western Kermanshah province along the mountainous border with Iraq, killing 620 people and injuring thousands of others.

Authorities said they were gathering information about the latest quake, which hit in the late evening at a depth of 7 km (4 miles). They asked residents to remain calm but be prepared for possible aftershocks.

The epicentre of the quake was 3 km from the city of Malard, and not far from Meshkin Dasht, which sits about 50 km west of Tehran, state news agency IRNA said.

The quake was also felt in Alborz, Qazvin, Qom, Gilan and Markazi provinces, according to state media.

"There have been no reports of casualties or damage," Behnam Saeedi, a spokesman for Iran's National Disaster Management Organization, was quoted as saying by the semi-official ILNA news agency.

In Tehran and other cities, residents flooded into streets and parks, fearing a stronger aftershock. Some set up tents to spend the night outside, and lit fires.

Tasnim news agency quoted Minister of Sports Masoud Soltanifar as saying sport centres in city of Karaj in Alborz province, and Eslamshahr in southern Tehran were open to the public to spend the night.

Some people also took refuge at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic in southern Tehran.

Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian was quoted by ISNA news agency as saying that Amirkabir Dam, one hour west of Tehran, remained intact and supply of water and electricity was not disrupted in any way.

Schools, universities and government offices will be closed in Tehran, Alborz and Qom provinces on Thursday, according to the state television.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by Andrew Roche and Tom Brown)

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