Iran Quake Death Toll Exceeds 41,000

The death toll from the massive earthquake that leveled the city of Bam (search) has risen to more than 41,000, a senior official said Friday.

The final toll from the Dec. 26 earthquake may reach 45,000, said Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a close aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (search), quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Golpayegani accompanied Khamenei on an unannounced visit to Bam Friday to supervise relief operations, the agency reported.

Previous government figures said 30,000 people died in the southeastern city of Bam, with more than 15,000 injured. The quake also leveled most of the ancient city, including the Arg-e-Bam, or Citadel of Bam, the world's largest mud-brick fortress.