Tehran, Nov 08: At least three people were killed and twenty injured in the earthquake in northwestern Iran on Friday, according to the first official reports on state television.
According to the Iranian Seismological Center report, a 5.9-magnitude quake struck about 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of the city of Tabriz, in East Azerbaijan Province, in the early hours of the morning.
However, it was a "moderate" earthquake, and was eight kilometres (five miles) deep and was followed by four aftershocks.
Meanwhile, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) issued an alert warning that "significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread".
Geographically, Iran sits where two major tectonic plates meet and experiences frequent seismic activity.
Till now, Iran has suffered a number of major disasters, including at the ancient city of Bam, which was decimated by a catastrophic earthquake in 2003 that killed at least 31,000 people.
Earlier, a 7.4-magnitude tremor in northern Iran killed 40,000 people, injured 300,000 and left half a million homeless, reducing dozens of towns and nearly 2,000 villages to rubble in 1990.
In the deadly earthquake of 2005 more than 600 people were killed in Iran, and in 2012 another tremor claimed lives of nearly 300 people. These are the two significant earthquakes that Iran has faced so far.