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TEHRAN, August 12 (Itar-Tass) — Two strong earthquakes in northwestern Iran has leveled villages and claimed the lives of more than 180 people. More than 1,300 people were injured, the Fars News Agency reports.
The authorities say that the death toll may keep rising.
The first underground tremor measuring 6.4 points was registered at 16:53 local time (16:23 Moscow time) on Saturday, 60 kilometers to the northeast of Tabriz, the province’s administrative center. Its epicenter was at a depth of 9.9 kilometers. The second tremor struck near the town of Varazkan, 49 kilometers to the northeast of Tabriz, 11 minutes later. It measured 6.3 points. About twenty aftershocks rattled later.
The towns of Ahar, Varazkan and Hariz were worst hit. No deaths have been reported in Tabriz with a population of 1.5 million people.
Iran is located in an area of increased seismic activity. Twenty powerful earthquakes claimed the lives of more than 170,000 Iranians last century. More than 30,000 people died in a 6.6-point earthquake in December 2003 that totally destroyed the ancient town of Bam in the country’s southeast.