Will Tehran be able to withstand ‘long overdue’ Quake?

By Zahra Alipour for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Is an earthquake likely to occur in Tehran? What will happen if there is an earthquake in Tehran? These questions have recently been discussed in Iranian media and among the public in the aftermath of the earthquake in the west of the country in November.

In response to these questions, Iranian experts and officials warn that a possible future earthquake in Tehran would bring much death and destruction.

On Nov. 14, Tehran City Council Chairman Mohsen Hashemi stated at a council meeting that the Iranian capital is expecting a massive earthquake in the near future, adding, “According to the experts, Tehran experiences an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 every 150 years. Currently, it has been 35 years since the last due date for another earthquake.”

Of note, the capital was as recently as Dec. 20 rocked by a 5.2 magnitude quake with its epicenter in the nearby city of Karaj. According to a recent study carried out by the Seismology and Engineering Risk Department at the Research Center of the Ministry of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, if an earthquake does strike Tehran, anywhere between 200,000 and 300,000 buildings will be destroyed and more than 1 million people will lose their lives. Tehran currently has a population of more than 13 million.

On Nov. 7, in an interview with Shahrvand Daily, Ali Beitollahi, the head of the abovementioned research center, stated that Tehran is one of the world’s top five cities at risk of an earthquake, “There are a lot of fault lines in Tehran; there are in total about 30 fault lines from north to the south. … Therefore, if there is an earthquake, it will be massive.”

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