The Irish Times 
April 16, 2013
Iran has been hit by its most powerful earthquake for nearly 40 years and there is confusion over the number of casualities.
Iranian crisis centre official Morteza Akbarpour told the ISNA news agency that the earthquake had so far,‘‘not caused any fatalities”.
“The epicentre of the quake was located in the desert and population centres do not surround it. There were no fatalities in the towns around the epicentre,” he said.
However, another official was quoted by a news agency as saying he feared hundreds had died. Iranian state TV has reported at least 40 people killed.
The epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude quake was near the south-east city of Khash, close to the Pakistani border, the US Geological Survey said. At least five deaths have been reported in Pakistan.