Last Update: 11:33
The hardest-hit region was western IranĪs Kermanshah province, which lies in the Zagros mountains dividing Iraq and Iran.
In the town of Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah province, 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the Iraqi border, at least 236 were killed.
IranĪs emergency services chief Pir Hossein Koolivand said it was "difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off... there have been landslides."
Most of the region is rugged mountain terrain populated by farmers, with many pictureque villages made out of earthen bricks clinging to hillsides.
According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake had a 7.3 magnitude and hit at 9:18 p.m. local time (1818 UTC) around 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Halabjah. More to come. amp/jm (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)