Beginning last October, when an earthquake registering 4.0 Mw on the Richter Scale struck the city, Tehran's residents have been barraged by prognostications of an earthquake reducing their metropolis to rubble. Iranian newspapers run stories almost daily detailing possible outcomes. More recently, Tehran's acting prayer leader, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sadeqi, became the object of worldwide ridicule when he claimed, "Women who do not dress modestly . . . spread adultery in society, which increases [the occurrence of] earthquakes."
But what's really at the root of Tehran's earthquake scare?
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered a hint on April 6, when he urged Tehran's residents to leave the city before a "devastating" tragedy strikes. His grim statement, made at one of Tehran's 25 emergency shelters, cannot be taken lightly. The city has 8 million residents, with another 6 million living in its suburbs. It straddles geological faults and has experienced major earthquakes in the past.