TEHRAN, Iran – An earthquake struck early Friday near Iran’s highest peak and jolted Tehran, killing at least five people and injuring more than 20 as people ran for their lives. The shallow 4.6 magnitude quake hit at 00:48 am (2018 GMT) near the city of Damavand, about 55 kilometers (34 miles) east of Tehran, the US Geological Survey said. It saw scores of residents of Tehran flee buildings for the safety of the capital’s streets and parks, AFP journalists reported. Many spent the rest of the night sleeping in their cars on the side of the road, apparently too fearful to return to their homes.
Some wore face masks, a sign of the times in a country already struggling to contain the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The temblor struck as Iranians were either sleeping or resting after iftar, the meal breaking the daytime fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. “We were sitting down when the earthquake struck,” said 45-year-old Tehran resident Ahmad. “We felt it completely shaking (the building), and then we all went out of the house together to be outside and not to be in danger if an aftershock struck,” His wife Maryam, who like him was wrapped in a blanket, said they escaped the apartment using the stairwell. “We quickly took the children by their hands and got out,” said the 37-year-old housewife. –NDTV