<DIV align=left>Iranian Earthquake sounds alarms in the capital</DIV>
TEHRAN (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake that struck Iran's Alborz Mountain Chain violently shook Tehran, rekindling fears of a long-awaited "big one" in the capital of some 14 million people.
Panicky families spent a chilly night under rugs in parks after Friday's quake rather than daring to go back inside the city's notoriously ramshackle blocks of flats. "I was in the shower when it happened. I almost ran into the street naked," said Mehran, a scared 24-year old. The quake, measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, killed 25 people and damaged scores of villages in Iran's Caspian region. Shockwaves reverberated down to the capital where buildings juddered, windows shattered and people ran screaming into the streets. "Earthquake's footsteps heard heading for Tehran" read the headline of the Sharq daily yesterday. The risk of a severe earthquake in Tehran has long been discussed, with experts saying the city's history shows a 150-year cycle for devastating quakes. Perilously perched on major fault lines, Tehran was rocked by a powerful quake in 1830 that killed tens of thousands. The "big one" is overdue. "Tehran brushes with disaster" the Javan daily headline said. Another morning paper raised the issue of why the latest tremor caused structural damage in the city. Last year's devastating quake in Bam, which claimed more than 20,000 lives, had already sent shockwaves of fear through Tehran, prompting officials to talk of moving the capital. But the issue soon ended up in archives. Friday's quake in northern Iran has again focused media attention on measures to avoid a disaster in Iran's capital, which estimates say would cause almost a million deaths if it measures above seven on the Richter scale. "Have we learnt our lessons from Bam?" asked the Aftab-e Yazd daily.