Iran has been struck by its most powerful earthquake for more than 50 years, with tremors felt across Pakistan, India and the Middle East.The epicentre of the 7.8-magnitude quake was near the south-eastern city of Khash, close to Pakistan.The quake struck deep and in a remote region, apparently limiting casualties.Iranian state TV said 27 people had been injured, but rowed back on early reports of deaths. However, more than 30 people were killed in Pakistan.The Pakistani military has been mobilised to help with rescue efforts, officials said.Two military helicopters carrying medical teams have been sent to the area and troops will support the relief efforts, they said.The border area has since been shaken by several strong aftershocks.The earthquake struck in the province of Sistan Baluchistan at about 15:14 local time (10:44 GMT), close to the cities of Khash, which has apopulation of nearly 180,000, and Saravan, where 250,000 people live."The epicentre of the quake was located in the desert, and population centres do not surround it. There were no fatalities in the towns around the epicentre," an Iranian crisis centre official, Morteza Akbarpour, was quoted as saying by the Iranian news agency Isna.The power of the tremor led to offices being evacuated in Karachi, Pakistan, in the Indian capital of Delhi, and in several Gulf cities.Iranian state TV initially reported that 40 people had been killed, and one Iranian official was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying hundreds of dead bodies are being seen.But Iran's Red Crescent said it expected limited damage and a low death toll because the earthquake was so deep - the Iranian Seismological Centre estimated the depth at 95km (59 miles).Iran's Fars news agency said the depth of the quake had reduced its impact to the size of a magnitude-4.0 tremor on the surface.Iranian scientists said it was the country's strongest earthquake for more than 50 years.All communications to the region have... [continues]
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