Iranian officials say 30 people were killed and at least 800 injured by a powerful earthquake that struck a sparsely populated area in 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.
Iran's Red Crescent rescue corps said one village was destroyed and another heavily damaged.
Search and rescue teams accompanied by security forces have been sent to the area, where telephone connections and electricity have been cut.
Iran's Seismological Center said the 6.1 magnitude quake hit late afternoon local time, in the Kaki area about 90 kilometers southeast of Bushehr. It was felt strongly across the Persian Gulf in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates 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.