Quake hits Iran and Pakistan, killing dozens

TEHRAN, Iran — An earthquake toppled homes and shops on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border Tuesday, killing dozens of people and causing skyscrapers to sway in Dubai.

The quake also forced Iranian officials — for the second time in less than a week — to issue assurances that its main nuclear reactor wasn't damaged.

At least 34 people were killed in a single village in Pakistan, a military official said. But the overall death toll became clouded after conflicting reports from Iran.

At first, Iran's state-run Press TV said at least 40 people died — which would push the two-nation tally to 74. But it later retreated from its account, and other Iranian outlets stepped in with a far less dire picture.

Despite the conflicting reports on the Iranian side, a Pakistani military official said at least 34 were killed on their side of the border and 80 were injured. Up to 1,000 mud homes were damaged, Pakistan Television added. The military spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with Pakistan military policy.

A Pakistani police officer, Azmatullah Regi, said nearly three dozen homes and shops collapsed in one village in the Mashkel area, which was the hardest hit by the quake.

The discrepancies and apparent backtracking in the Iranian reports could not be immediately reconciled, but it was the second quake to hit Iran in less than week and authorities could be seeking to downplay casualties.

The website of Tehran Geophysics Center said the quake, measured at least magnitude 7.7, lasted 40 seconds and called it the strongest in more than 50 years in one of the world's most seismically active areas.

Press TV said the quake was centered near Saravan, about 26 miles from the Pakistani border. The U.S. Geological Survey put the preliminary magnitude at 7.8 and at a depth of nine miles.

Iran's nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi said there was no damage to the Bushehr reactor and invited U.N. inspectors to visit, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.

Quake hits Iran and Pakistan, killing dozens 04/16/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 12:16am]

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