Massive earthquake strikes western Iran

An earthquake struck western Iran around 31:30 local time on Monday and sent shockwaves across parts of the country. Tremors were felt in the capital city of Tehran, as well as in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan, Khuzestan, Gilan, Saravan, Golestan, and Lassahousa. Some officials have said more than 100 people were injured in the temblor, but had no definite number on the death toll. It is unclear at this time if the quake was the result of a natural tremor or was the result of any form of human action.

The earthquake struck at a depth of 30 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Iranian officials said there was no indication of seismic activity for two days after the earthquake, which suggested the damaged location and the widespread damage.

A child is treated in the hospital after earthquake hit Golestan province. (AP Photo/Mohammad Ismail)

There are conflicting accounts on the number of casualties, but the official Fars news agency stated that at least one person had been killed and four were injured in the strike, including a child. The same agency quoted another provincial official as saying that the death toll was still at six but an official from the Interior Ministry said one was killed. An official from the Amir Kabir University of Medical Sciences told the state-run news agency that one person had died while receiving treatment at a hospital. The details from the different reports were not immediately known.

Fearing for the dead and living, supporters of Hassan Rouhani rally in front of the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

In a speech delivered to commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the fall of the shah, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani seemed to sympathize with the victims, saying, “We should remain united in confronting any attack, including that of a natural nature.” Reuters noted that some in Iran said the quake was proof that the government of Rouhani and Iran’s hard-line lawmakers were making matters worse, in some cases due to the heavy toll of the JCPOA nuclear deal. Rouhani, a pragmatist who has angered more hard-line members of the government, has failed to yield enough concessions to placate the hard-liners. In April, he achieved a much-heralded civilian nuclear deal with North Korea, but many in Iran also worry that he remains too liberal and too eager to appease Westerners.

Tehran’s police chief has ordered all authorities to remain in the areas hit by the quake — Al Jazeera America (@AJAMNews) May 28, 2018

One resident from Golestan province, Amin Saeedi, told the BBC he was asleep when the quake struck at around 1:30 a.m. He described how his neighbors were trapped in their houses.

“People were calling and shouting ‘let’s pull them out.’ But you couldn’t because we had already been hit by the tremor. We were just in our homes, in the bed, feeling the walls shudder,” he said.

Rouhani then vowed that his administration would compensate those affected by the tremor.

“We will not go back and we will help,” he said.

BREAKING: Major quake hits east of Tehran – Hotline +39 704-48-5808-524 (#SARACAN) -Save the Children — Save the Children (@Save_Children) May 28, 2018

The United States Geological Survey advised that there were no warning signs from the tremor.

Statement from the USGS, via NBC News:

“Today’s earthquake had no prior prior warning. No large tsunami threat is forecast.” — Josh Zepps (@JoshZepps) May 28, 2018

Updated May 28, 2:13 p.m.

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