Iran raised the official death toll for the December 26 earthquake in the southeastern city of Bam to 41,000, as a close aide to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the final figure could hit 45,000, state media reported on Friday.
"In this incident, up until now 41,000 of the people of Bam have been killed, and there is a possibility that this could increase to 45,000. This is a great catastrophe," Mohammad Mohammadi-Gholpayghani was quoted as saying by the news agency IRNA.
Khamenei arrived in the earthquake-stricken city Friday for the second time to hold talks with local officials regarding the work done so far and future plans.
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