Strong quake near Iran nuclear plant kills 3

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TEHRAN—A powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck on Tuesday near the Gulf port city of Bushehr, home to Iran’s only nuclear power plant, killing at least three people, state television and officials said.

Iranian news agencies made no immediate mention of damage to the plant in the area of Kaki, nearly 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of Bushehr.

The quake hit at 4:22 pm (1152 GMT) with a depth of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), the Iran Seismological Center said.

The US Geological Survey, which monitors quakes worldwide, ranked the quake at a more powerful 6.3 magnitude.

Iranian media said search and rescue teams have been dispatched to the area, to which telephone connection has been cut.

The seismological center has so far reported six after shocks, the strongest at 5.3 magnitude.

Speaking to the ISNA news agency, the head of Iran’s Red Crescent rescue corps, Mahmoud Mozafar, said there was a possibility of “damage,” considering the rural nature of the stricken area, home to some 12,000 inhabitants.

He did not elaborate.

Iran sits astride several major fault lines and is prone to frequent earthquakes, some of which have been devastating.

A double earthquake, one measuring 6.2 and the other 6.0, struck northwest Iran in August last year, killing more than 300 people and injuring 3,000.

In December 2010, a big quake struck the southern city of Bam. It killed 31,000 people — about a quarter of the population — and destroyed the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.

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