The quake struck around 60km (35 miles) from the town of Hastrud, in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province, shortly before 2.30 am (2300 GMT).
It was 8km (5 miles) deep and described as “moderate” by Iran’s Seismological Centre.
Provincial governor, Mohammad-Reza Pourmohammadi, told local media that at least 30 houses had been destroyed.
Over 40 aftershocks rattled the rural region nestled in the Alborz Mountains, and residents rushed out of their homes in fear. The quake injured at least 520 people, state television reported. It described many of the injuries happening when people fled in panic.
Last year, a quake that struck near the Iran-Iraq border in November killed at least 361 people.
More than 400 people were killed, and thousands injured when a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck near the Iran-Iraq border in November 2017.
The deadliest this century occurred in 2003 when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the southeastern city of Bam, killing tens of thousands.
— People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) November 9, 2019
Many of those killed by the earthquake died only because of poor building methods and a lack of proper regulation. In Iran, as in many developing countries, tremors that ought to be survivable often bring human tragedy on a vast scale because buildings collapse on top of people.
There has also been little research into low-cost techniques to protect buildings against earthquakes.
Building materials are often inadequate for normal purposes, let alone for use in an earthquake zone. Typical houses are constructed of burnt brick, with mud and lime for the bonding.
A California quake on 22 December 2003 killed only two people with a magnitude measuring 6.3. But in Iran because of the poor construction and used material, virtual every large quake turns into a disaster. There are different building codes but not followed. No one pays any attention. No authorities control construction.
In Iran the houses are essentially made of dust, when buildings made of concrete collapse there are pockets of air where you can breathe and survive two, three, maybe even five days. But with mud houses, and the dust they produce when collapsing, people die much quicker.
The earthquake on 12 November 2017 in the Kermanshah province which was one of the deadliest quakes in Iran that killed more than 400 people is one of the main facts of the disastrous construction in Iran. The poor condition of the buildings made by the Maskan Mehr a company which is in the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), was a key reason for the deaths.
In that time, Eshagh Jahangiri, First Vice President of Iran, confirmed that the most demolished houses were made by this company. What this shows is that the Iranian regime has no interest in the safety of the people, let alone to help the victims of such natural catastrophes.