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Strong earthquake hits remote area in southwestern Iran; 60 injured

TEHRAN, Iran - A strong, magnitude 6.2 earthquake jolted a sparsely populated mountainous province near Iran's border with Iraq on Monday, Iranian state television reported.

There were no reports of fatalities but a local official said some 60 people have been injured and that the temblor had caused widespread damage.

The TV said the quake hit the town of Murmuri, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) southwest of the capital, Tehran, at 7:02 a.m. local time (0232 GMT). It said the 6.2-magnitude quake happened at the depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).

Mohammad Reza Morvarid, the local governor, said 60 people were injured and that because minor quakes were felt in the area on Sunday, the residents were somewhat prepared.

"Many people slept outdoors," Morvarid said, adding that "many buildings have been damaged."

Monday's quake was also felt in neighbouring provinces. The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 6.3.

The official IRNA news agency later reported another earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7 hit Pol-e-Dokhtar in Lorestan province in western Iran, not very far from the site of the first. It said there were no reports of any fatalities or injuries.

Iran sits on a series of seismic fault lines and experiences one slight quake a day on average. In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam.

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