Iran earthquake latest: Magnitude-5.5 quake strikes near nuclear power plant

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An earthquake has hit southern Iran just 60 miles from the country’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.

It hit on Thursday morning and was also felt in Bahrain and other areas around the Persian Gulf.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake struck at 6.34am GMT, some 60 miles east of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the only operating nuclear power station in the Islamic Republic.

The USGS put the earthquake’s magnitude at 5.5, while Iranian state television, citing officials, described the quake as a magnitude 5.9. Varying magnitudes are common immediately after a temblor.

Government-run TV did not report any damage at the Bushehr plant, which has seen other earthquakes in the past and was built to resist damage from the tremors.

It said the earthquake’s epicentre was near the town of Kaki, which the Iran Red Cross described as being in a sparsely populated area.

In Bahrain, an island kingdom off Saudi Arabia, people on social media said they felt the quake and evacuated from high-rise buildings.

The USGS put the earthquake’s depth at 6.2 miles (10km) below the surface. Shallow earthquakes often have broader damage.

A magnitude-5 earthquake can cause considerable damage.

Iran sits on major fault lines and is prone to near-daily earthquakes.

In 2003, a 6.6-magnitude quake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people. Bam is near the Bushehr nuclear plant, which was not damaged.

Last November, a major 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck a mountainous region of Iran near the Iraqi border, killing more than 530 people and injuring thousands in Iran alone.

In Iraq, nine people were killed and 550 were injured, all in the country’s northern Kurdish region.

Additional reporting by AP