“Seventeen people were killed and 37 others injured have been taken to hospital. The death toll is expected to rise as several injured are in critical condition,” national rescue service spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi said. quoted by state television.

An initial assessment reported ten dead.

Photos released by the Isna agency show a wagon overturned on the track and four others embedded in each other.

According to images from the Iribnews channel, the accident occurred in a desert area near Tabas, 900 km southwest of Tehran. The tragedy occurred on the line linking the cities of Mashhad and Yazd.

“The train, which was carrying 348 passengers, derailed after hitting an excavator” which was near the tracks, Mir Hassan Moussavi, deputy head of Islamic Republic Railways, told state television. The accident happened at 5:30 a.m. local time (0100 GMT), according to state television.

Rescue operations manager Mehdi Valipour said five of the train’s eleven carriages derailed.

– Deadly accidents –

This derailment comes two weeks after the collapse of a building under construction in the south-west of Iran which claimed the lives of 43 people.

On May 23, the Metropol building, under construction in Abadan, one of the main cities of the province of Khuzestan, in the south-west of the country, partially collapsed in the heart of a busy street.

This disaster, one of the deadliest in years in Iran, has led to a series of demonstrations across the country in solidarity with the families of the victims and against the authorities, accused of corruption and incompetence.

Nightly demonstrations took place in Abadan and other towns, particularly in the center of the country, to mourn the victims and demand the prosecution of those responsible.

Justice had claimed to have arrested 13 people, including the mayor of Abadan and two former mayors, accused of being “responsible” for the tragedy.

In 2016, 44 people were killed and 82 injured when two trains, including one stationary, caught fire in northern Iran. The head of the railway company had resigned and four employees had been arrested.

The deadliest accident took place on February 18, 2004 with the death of 328 people and hundreds of others injured when a freight train exploded with its cargo of sulphur, gasoline and fertilizers in the middle of nearby villages. from the town of Neishabour (north-east).

In January 1993, a collision between two trains two kilometers from Pichva on the Tehran-Mashhad line (northeast) left 24 dead and 45 injured. According to an official press release, it was due to a “signalling error”.