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Quake Near Iran's Nuclear Plant Kills 3, Injures 500

Iranian officials say at least three people were killed and more than 500 injured by a powerful earthquake that struck southern Iran Tuesday, close to the country's only nuclear power station.

The Russian company that built the plant, 18 kilometers south of the port city of Bushehr, said the quake was felt there but that operations were not affected.

Iranian media did not give details on where the casualties occurred but indicated the death and injury toll is climbing. Thousands of people live near the nuclear plant. Iran's Red Crescent rescue corps said two villages were heavily damaged.

The Iran Seismological Center said the 6.1 magnitude quake hit late afternoon local time, about 90 kilometers southeast of Bushehr. It was felt strongly on the other side of the Persian Gulf in Bahrain and Qatar, where offices were evacuated as a precaution.

Gulf Arab countries and Western experts have voiced concerns about the Bushehr plant, built in a highly seismic area. Iran has repeatedly rejected concerns it could be unsafe.

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US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) gestures waiting for the opening of a plenary session with P5+1 ministers, European Union and Iranian minister on Iran nuclear talks at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 31, 2015.

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