Iran earthquake kills at least 180

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake has levelled villages and damaged homes in north-western Iran, killing at least 180 people and injuring more than 1,350 others, state TV reported.

The quake hit the towns of Ahar, Haris and Varzaqan in East Azerbaijan province, the TV report said. At least six villages were totally levelled, and 60 others sustained damage ranging from 50% to 80%, it said.

The epicentre of the quake was a region between Ahar and Haris, about 300 miles north-west of the capital, Tehran, according to Khalil Saei, local Crisis Committee chief, the report said.

At least nine aftershocks jolted the same area and were felt in a wide region near the Caspian Sea, causing panic among the population.

Saei urged people in the quake region to stay outdoors and spend the night at parks and open spaces in anticipation of more aftershocks.

Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. It experiences at least one earthquake every day on average, although the vast majority are so small they go unnoticed.