Fifty-one people died and 870 were injured when an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale hit the province of Lorestan in western Iran early Friday, official television quoted a local official as saying.
Some 330 villages suffered 40 to 100 per cent damage in the quake, which struck between the towns of Dorud and Borujerd, the unnamed official said. The ancient buildings in Borujerd were damaged, he added.
The tremor registering 6.0 on the Richter scale struck at 0647 IST following two others measuring 4.7 and 5.1, Iranian television quoted the national seismological institute as saying.
The Strasbourg observatory in eastern France announced an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale in western Iran early Friday.
The observatory situated the epicentre at 32.86° north and 48.30° east.
Iranian television said the quake caused an electricity blackout in Dorud where the inhabitants rushed out into the streets.
The tremor was felt as far away as Hamedan in the province of the same name to the north.
Iran is an earthquake-prone area. The worst quake in recent times hit Bam in the south of the country in December 2003 killing 31,000 people.
The most recent measuring 6 on the Richter scale shook a sparsely-populated region of south Iran on March 25, killing one person in a landslide and damaging houses in the mountainous Kouhshab region.