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Quake fears prompt Tehran evacuation

12 April 2010 0:31

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his government plans to relocate millions of Tehran citizens as the capital is threatened by earthquakes.

“We can not order people to evacuate the city… but measures have to be taken,” Mehr News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying on Sunday.

“At least five million people should leave Tehran so it becomes less crowded and possible incidents can be controlled,” he added.

Tehran Province, which has a population of 14 million, is constantly faced with threats of earthquakes as it sits on several fault lines.

Ahmadinejad said the government could offer “land, loans at four percent interest and substantial subsidies” in other provinces to encourage Tehran residents to leave the capital.

“If something happens to Tehran province’s 13.8 million residents, how can we manage that?” he said.

Iran sits astride several major faults in the Earth’s crust and is prone to frequent quakes.

The worst earthquake to hit the country in recent years devastated the southern city of Bam in December 2003, killing 31,000 people and destroying its ancient mud-brick citadel.

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