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Southeastern Iran Hit By Another Moderate Earthquake; 23 Reported Injured


An earthquake of magnitude 5.2 rocked Iran's southeastern province of Kerman on December 21 and at least 23 people were injured, state TV said, only a day after two people were killed by a similar tremor near Tehran.

Rescue teams were dispatched to the town of Kuhbanan, the epicenter of the latest quake, officials said. No deaths were reported.

"Electricity has been cut off in the town.... Some houses were damaged," a local official told state TV.

The semiofficial ILNA news agency said many residents rushed out of houses in Kuhbanan, fearing more tremors after several aftershocks followed the quake, which hit three hours before midnight local time.

"I am urging people to remain calm. The weather is so cold and we need tents.... Still, we don't have a clear idea about possible fatalities and the exact number of wounded people," Kuhbanan's police chief Mohsen Seifouri told the semiofficial Fars news agency.

Another local official said there were no casualties.

"Several rescue teams are in the quake-hit area and fortunately we had no casualties," the deputy head of Kerman Province's crisis management headquarters, Mostafa Ayatollahi-Mousavi, told the semiofficial Tasnim news agency.

Several strong quakes hit Kerman Province on December 12, leaving dozens of people injured and damaging houses.

On December 20, a quake of magnitude 5.2 struck a town near Tehran, killing an elderly woman and a young girl and injuring nearly 120 people.

Iran is crisscrossed by several major geological fault lines and is one of the world's most quake-prone countries. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in Kerman Province killed 31,000 people and flattened the ancient city of Bam.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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