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Iran plane crash kills dozens

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At least 39 passengers and crew on board an Iranian jet have been killed and nine injured after the plane crashed near an airport in the capital Tehran, according to a senior transportation official and state media.

IRNA news agency said the plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Mehrabad airport on Sunday.

Deputy Minister of Transportation Ahmad Majidi provided the casualty figures in an appearance on state television. The channel earlier had reported that all 48 people on board had died.

The plane crashed into the Azad residential block on Mina 6 Boulevard, state news agency IRNA reported. State television said at least three people in the area were taken to hospital with burns.

The Sepahan Airlines plane was headed to the eastern city of Tabas, the IRNA and Fars news agencies said, and crashed at 9:18am (04:48 GMT). IRNA’s English website had earlier reported it was a Taban Airline jet.

Mehrabad is located in a western suburb of Tehran and mainly functions as a domestic airport.

Iran has suffered a series of aeroplane crashes, blamed on its ageing aircraft and poor maintenance.

US sanctions prevent Iran from updating its American aircraft and make it difficult to get European spare parts or planes as well.

The country has come to rely on Russian aircraft, many of them Soviet-era planes that are harder to get parts for since the Soviet Union’s fall.

The last major airliner crash in Iran happened in January 2011, when an Iran Air Boeing 727 broke to pieces on impact while trying an emergency landing in a snowstorm in northwestern Iran, killing at least 77 people.

In July 2009, a Russian-made jetliner crashed in northwest Iran shortly after taking off from the capital, killing all 168 on board.

In February 2003, a Russian-made Ilyushin 76 carrying members of the Revolutionary Guard crashed in the mountains of southeastern Iran, killing 302 people aboard. Al Jazeera

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