Quake strikes near Iran’s nuclear plant

The 5.6 magnitude earthquake jolted about 40 miles (60 km) northeast of Bushehr

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A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck on Thursday an area northwest of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor, killing at least seven people and wounding 30 others, according to a preliminary tally given by emergency response chief Hassan Qadami.

“So far, there are seven dead and 30 injured receiving hospital treatment,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Qadami as saying.

The quake's epicenter was near Borazjan, around 60 kilometers (35 miles) from Bushehr, where Iran has its Russian-built reactor.

In April, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake killed at least 37 people and injured hundreds in a town near Bushehr. The nuclear plant wasn't damaged then, AP reported.

Iran sits on a series of faults. It experiences minor quakes once a day on average.

In April, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Iran and neighboring Pakistan, killing 40 people.

A massive quake in December 2003 struck the southern city of Bam, killing 26,000 people and destroying its ancient mud-built citadel.

Iran’s Arab neighbors across the Gulf have often raised concern over the reliability of the Bushehr plant and the risks of radioactive leaks in case of a major quake.

But Iran and Russia insist it respects international standards under the supervision of the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

[With AFP and AP]

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