At least 185 people were killed and some 1,300 injured in two major earthquakes that hit Iran on Saturday. The earthquakes occurred in the East Azerbaijan district of the country, in northwestern Iran, about 40 miles from the district capital of Tabriz.
Hundreds of buildings collapsed in the quakes, which measured 6.2 and 6.0 on the Richter scale. Several aftershocks, measuring 4.7 and 4.1 on the Richter scale, were felt minutes later. About 20 smaller earthquakes were felt in various parts of the country as the major quakes took place, Iran's Seismological Center said.
At least 60 villages were badly damaged in the quakes, and four were completely destroyed, Iranian news agencies said. Officials called on people in the affected areas to vacate their houses until inspectors could ascertain that they were safe.
Iran is located on several major fault lines, and has a long history of seismic activity. At least one earthquake occurs daily in the country, although most are very small. The last major quake, in 2003, killed more than 30,000 in the city of Bam.