Author`s name Marina Lebedeva

Powerful earthquake hits central Iran, at least 80 killed

earthquake IranA powerful earthquake shook central Iran Tuesday, killing at least 80 people and destroying villages, state-run television reported.

The epicenter of the earthquake was reported 56 kilometers (35 miles) northwest of the provincial capital of Kerman, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

An official in Kerman said authorities confirmed that at least 80 people were killed in the powerful 6.4-magnitude quake and scores of others were injured, according to the broadcast.

Kerman provincial governor Mohammad Ali Karimi was quoted by the television as saying that "several villages have been destroyed" by the earthquake.

The television quoted the governor of Zarand, identified only as Rashidi, as saying that power in the region has been disrupted.

The television broadcast said that rescuers were en route to several villages near Zarand.

A magnitude-6.6 quake in December 2003 flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam in the same region, killing 26,000 people. Iran experiences at least one slight earthquake every day on average.

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