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Absent Reliable Earthquake Crisis Management, Iranians Can Only Pray To Be Spared Another National Catastrophe

The seismic networks of the National Seismological Center in Iran recorded 8,630 earthquakes in the year 1400 on the Persian calendar. These earthquakes occurred in different parts of the country and border areas with a magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale earthquake recorded every month.

Last year, with 1,014 recorded cases, Khorasan Razavi province in the northeast had the highest number of earthquakes in the country, followed by Kerman in the south with 674 and Isfahan in central Iran, with 584 earthquakes, respectively The fewest number of recorded earthquakes occurred Alborz, near the capital Tehran, Sistan and Baluchestan, in the southeast and Zanjan in the west, respectively.

The National Seismological Center recorded 144 earthquakes in Tehran province last year, the largest of which was near the city of Bumehen with a magnitude of 3.9 on the Richter scale.

The head of the seismic database of the National Seismological Center of the Institute of Geophysics at Tehran University said. This year, 167 earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 4 on the Richter scale have been registered in the country, the largest of which was in Finn, Hormozgan Province with a 6.3 magnitude on the Richter scale.”

As Iran is located on an earthquake belt that is regularly confronted with seismic events and is considered a high-risk region. It is geologically active due to its location in the Alpine-Himalayan seismic belt and at the confluence of the Eurasian-Saudi belts, with about 8% of the world’s earthquakes and about 17% of the world’s major earthquakes occurring on the Iranian plateau.

Iran’s geographic history has shown that the country has been and still is prone to major earthquakes with socio-political aftershocks.

On September 1, 1962, while Mohammadreza Shah was still ruling the country, a 7.2 large-magnitude earthquake shook Buin Zahra, Qazvin Province, about 70 Kilometers West of Tehran. According to available online data, the quake destroyed 91 villages, killing 12,225 and seriously injuring 2,800 people. The inadequate state’s response to the natural distaste turned into a scandal and therefore invigorated dissent against the corrupt monarchical regime.

Buin Zahra earthquake aftermath image from Iranian state media

The 1962 tremor originated on one of many faults in the area, called the Ipak Fault. Believed to have been reactivated multiple times, the fault is extensive and could still pose a threat to locals. Iran’s building codes, infamous for performing poorly during earthquakes, were recently evaluated by multiple world organizations.

Absent any hope that the Iranian regime will actually implement better quality of design, and considering that Iran is among the most seismically active countries in the world, this can lead to more catastrophic events in the future.

On December 26, 2003, a major earthquake struck Bam, Kerman Province, southeastern Iran. The tremor had a moment magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale and maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). The earthquake was particularly destructive in Bam, with the death toll amounting to at least 34,000 people and injuring up to 200,000 according to official statistics which are known to be inaccurate and politically driven.

The effects of the earthquake were exacerbated by using mud brick as the standard construction medium; many of the area’s structures did not comply with earthquake regulations set in 1989.

For and aftermath images from the Bam earthquake

On November 12, 2017, an earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.3 occurred on the Iran–Iraq border. The province of Kermanshah was the most affected area on the Iranian side. Ezgeleh was the nearest city to the epicenter of the earthquake. More than half of the Iranian casualties were from Sarpol-e-Zahab and the Ezgeleh District, which have a combined population of over 30,000.

State officials declared 630 people dead, and more than 7,000 injured. The most affected ones were Iranians who had lived in social housing complexes built by the government of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose cabinet was among the most corrupt in the clerical regime’s history. The housing scandal became a national outcry that plagued the regime for many years.

Image showing the level of destruction that occurred to special housing units constructed by Ahmadinejad’s government called the ‘Maskan Mehr’ project

Many Iran geologists have been warning for years of a national disaster lurking in Iran’s capital. Tehran, a metropolis with a population of around 8.7 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran is notorious for an unbalanced city structure where high-rises tower over smaller buildings nearby and can maximize the damage of the event of a strong earthquake.

“Tehran can be called a city of faults because it has a large number of faults”, wrote the IRGC-funded Javan news agency on November 21, 2021. Identifying 13 main faults and five sub-faults in the city of Tehran, Javan added: “According to the calculations of Ali Darvishzadeh (father of Iranian geology), the cycle of each major earthquake in Tehran is 150 years. While more than 180 years have passed since the last major earthquake struck the capital, this 30-year delay means that the next quake is likely to be much larger and more powerful. Hence, the earth energy is accumulating in faults and the next earthquake in Tehran can be as high as 8 on the Richter scale.”

Also in 2017, following a 5.2 magnitude earthquake in Tehran and Alborz provinces, two people were reported killed and 115 injured.

The seismic shock revealed unexpected consequences. The spokesman for the National Iranian Petroleum Refining and Distribution Company said that following the earthquake in Tehran, the people of Iran’s capital had consumed about 15 million liters of gasoline in 12 hours. Ziba Esmaili stated in an interview with the state-run ISNA news agency on Thursday, December 20 that “the average daily consumption of gasoline in Tehran is 15 million liters under normal circumstances, but the people of Tehran have consumed that much gasoline in only 12 hours, which is equal to a full day.”

Fariborz Nateghiollahi, an earthquake engineer, founder of Resilience and Crisis Management, and professor at the International Institute of Seismology said, “I have been warning for years that there will be an earthquake in Tehran, and I have said many times that if that earthquake occurs, the greatest catastrophe of the last three centuries will happen.”

Commenting on the possibility of a severe earthquake in Tehran, Abdolreza Hashemizai, Tehran’s representative in the regime’s parliament, said, “It is God who can save Tehran.”

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