A powerful earthquake struck close to Iran’s only nuclear power station on Tuesday, killing 30 people and injuring 800 as it devastated small villages, state media reported. The 6.3 magnitude quake totally destroyed two villages, but the nearby Bushehr nuclear plant was undamaged. The early afternoon shock was also felt in financial hub Dubai.
A bit of history: Tehran has repeatedly rejected safety concerns about Bushehr (nuclear plant) which is built in a highly seismic area. Iran sits on major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6 magnitude quake in 2003 which flattened the southeastern city of Bam and killed more than 25,000 people. In August more than 300 people were killed when two quakes struck the north west. According to a report of the Federation of American Scientists, the Bushehr reactor sits at the intersection of three tectonic plates.
Israel, Gulf Arab states and many Western countries fear Tehran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability and the Islamic Republic is under international sanctions aimed at forcing it to curb some of its atomic work. Iran denies it wants nuclear arms and says its atomic work is for electricity generation and other peaceful uses.