At least five people were reported killed and 120 others injured when a shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Iran early on Friday.
The quake hit at 2:20 a.m. Friday in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. It says the temblor occurred at a depth of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).
Over 40 aftershocks rattled the rural region nestled in the Alborz Mountains, and residents rushed out of their homes in fear.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake’s epicenter was at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage.
The US Geological Survey issued an alert warning that “significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread”.
Images and videos posted online showed a collapsed structure in Mianeh, also in East Azerbaijan Province near the epicentre of the quake.
Residents were also seen camping outside their homes or in their cars.
Iran is on major seismic faults and experiences one earthquake a day on average. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.