One person dead after quake strikes near Iran's Mashhad

LONDON (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake struck northeast Iran on Wednesday near the holy city of Mashhad, leaving at least one person dead and several injured.

The quake, of magnitude 6.1 according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), occurred 76 km (47 miles) east-southeast of the city and at a depth of 33 km.

The governor of the province said on the state television that the quake happened at 10:39 a.m. local time (0609 GMT) and had shaken a vast area.

State news agency IRNA quoted emergency services spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi as saying there were fears that casualties in villages and small towns could be high. Red Crescent teams and emergency services had been deployed to the area, he said.

A Red Crescent official was quoted by state media as saying one person had died in a village near the city of Fariman and at that least four were injured.

Pictures posted on social media showed deep cracks in streets and buildings and Tasnim news agency reported that phone lines in some of the affected area were disrupted.

Local people said in media reports and on Twitter they had felt more than a dozen aftershocks, with some afraid to go back to their homes.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Catherine Evans