SLUG: 2-311511 Iran / Capital (S-O)
TITLE=IRAN / CAPITAL (S-ONLY)
INTRO: Iranian newspapers Monday reported that the government will soon be presented with a proposal to move Iran's capital to a new location because of concerns that earthquakes could devastate Tehran. V-O-A's Greg LaMotte has the story from our Middle East bureau in Cairo.
TEXT: The enormity of disaster caused by the December 26th earthquake in the southeastern Iranian city of Bam may soon have the Iranian government considering moving the country's capital away from Tehran, where a major seismological fault is present.
Iranian newspapers Monday reported that the Iranian government's Supreme National Security Council will discuss a plan to move the capital from Tehran, possibly to the central Iranian city of Isfahan, which was the country's capital in the late 16th century. The capital was moved to Tehran in 1788.
Seismologists have warned that a strong earthquake in Tehran could cause widespread devastation and kill as many as 700 thousand people in the city that has a population of 12 million.
The head of the Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rohani, was quoted as saying a proposal that was rejected in 1991 to move the capital away from Tehran would be updated and resubmitted by March for consideration.
Tehran is frequently shaken by small earthquakes each year. (Signed)
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