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Quake hits Iran, Pakistan; dozens killed

TEHRAN, Iran -- An earthquake toppled homes and shops on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border yesterday, killing dozens of people and causing skyscrapers to sway in Dubai. It 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, and 80 were injured. Up to 1,000 mud homes were damaged, Pakistan Television added.

A Pakistani policeman, Azmatullah Regi, said nearly three dozen homes and shops collapsed in one village in the Mashkel area, which was the hardest hit. Rescuers pulled the bodies of a couple and three children, ages 5 to 15, from the rubble of one house, he said.

It was the second quake to hit Iran in less than week and commentary on Iranian TV criticized international media for "exaggerating" the toll.

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.

Less than a week earlier, a magnitude 6.1 temblor struck near Bushehr, on Iran's Persian Gulf coast, killing at least 37 people.

Press TV said Tuesday's quake was centered near Saravan, 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.

The quake was felt from New Delhi, 900 miles from the epicenter, to Gulf cities with some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, including Dubai's 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa. -- AP

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