Powerful earthquake rocks Iran, hundreds feared dead

A powerful earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8, hit the area around the Iran-Pakistan border Tuesday, and early reports said hundreds are feared dead.

“It was the biggest earthquake in Iran in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead,” a spokesperson told Reuters, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Iranian state television has already reported at least 40 dead, according to BBC News.

The epicentre of the earthquake was in a mountainous area, 201 km southeast of the Iranian city of Zahedan, Reuters reports. That city is the economic centre of the region, and the surrounding area is home to about 2 million people, says The New York Times.

The earthquake was felt as far as New Delhi, in Karachi, Pakistan and in the southern port city in the Persian Gulf countries, reports The New York Times.