A 6.3 magnitude earthquake has struck near Bushehr, in Iran’s southwestern coastal region, killing at least 30 people and injuring nearly 1,000 others. Seven aftershocks were registered within 38 minutes after the initial jolt.
The epicenter was 55 miles southeast of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, which is located just 11 miles southeast of the city.
The depth of the quake was 6.2 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Bushehr power plant is the country’s only nuclear power station and is capable of withstanding quakes stronger than 6.3 magnitude.
“The earthquake in no way affected the normal situation at the reactor. Personnel continue to work in the normal regime and radiation levels are fully within the norm,” a design engineer told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
One village was wiped out, and mud brick houses crumbled in the earthquake.
“We could clearly feel the earthquake,” Nikoo, who requested to be identified only by her first name, told Reuters by telephone. “The windows and chandeliers all shook.”
Social media outlets reported feeling the quake in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. There were no immediate reports of damages.
Gulf Arab countries and Western experts have voiced concerns about the Bushehr plant, built in a highly seismic area, but Iran has repeatedly rejected those concerns. Bushehr is home to some 160,000 people.
The US and its allies have repeatedly accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its work at Bushehr is for civilian purposes only.