Dozens killed and hundreds injured as earthquake hits near Iran's nuclear city Bushehr

 

Jerusalem

At least 30 people were killed and 800 injured today when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Iran’s only nuclear power plant.

Officials said that work at the Bushehr site was unaffected by the quake which was felt as far away as Dubai, across the Strait of Hormuz, and in Qatar. The earthquake comes as pressure mounts on Tehran over its nuclear programme, which most of the international community says is bent on developing a nuclear weapon but which Iranian officials insist is designed only for peaceful purposes.

The Red Cross has said two villages close to the plant – Shanbe and Sana, which both have populations are about 2,000 - had been badly damaged, but the Russian company that built the Bushehr plant said the reactor was undamaged.

An Iranian official, who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said the earthquake had been felt at the nuclear site, but said: “I don't think anything happened to the Bushehr power plant as it happened outside Bushehr city.” It is thought that the plant is about 20km away from the two villages.

“The earthquake in no way affected the normal situation at the reactor. Personnel continue to work in the normal regime and radiation levels are fully within the norm,” Russian state news agency RIA quoted an official at the company, Atomstroyexport, as saying.

The quake came as John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, was in Jerusalem for talks with Benjamin Netanyahu about the Israel-Palestinian peace process and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Kerry, said that, “Iran cannot have and will not have a nuclear weapon”.

There was little new of substantive progress on the peace process. Mr Kerry said today that the most recent talks had focussed on “some economic initiative”, but that both he and Mr Netanyahu agreed that “the political track is first and foremost; other things may happen to supplement it.”

America’s leading diplomat was clear on Iran, however. “The United States of America has made clear that we stand not just with Israel, but with the entire international community in making it clear that we are serious [about not allowing Iran to develop a nuclear weapon], we are open to negotiation, but it is not an open-ended, endless negotiation,” he said.

The comments come after two days of talks between world powers and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions broke up without resolution at the weekend.

Mr Kerry was not the only foreign official in Israel for talks on Iran today. Canada’s foreign minister, John Baird, held talks with Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who on Sunday said that Iran should face military action within, “a few weeks, a month” if there is no progress in talks. Like most officials in Israel, Mr Steinitz believes that the West should lead any military action.

Later this month, the new US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel will visit Jerusalem for talks with his opposite number, the Moshe Ya’alon.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us