169 killed as Iran airliner crashes

A passenger aircraft crashed in northwestern Iran on Wednesday and up to 169 people on board were feared killed, ISNA news agency reported.

"153 passengers along with 16 crew were on the plane that crashed," ISNA said, without giving a source.

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Earlier Iranian state television said that all 150 people on board had been killed, according to Reuters.

The Caspian Airlines aircraft was traveling from Tehran to Yerevan in Armenia when it came down at 11:33 a.m. near the city of Qazvin, the official IRNA news agency said.

Qazvin emergency services director Hossein Bahzadpour said the plane was completely destroyed and the wreckage was in flames.

Caspian Airlines is a Russian-Iranian joint venture founded in 1993.

Iran has frequent plane crashes, which it blames on US sanctions on the country that prevent it from getting spare parts for ageing planes.

Caspian Airlines, however, uses Russian-made aircraft whose maintenance would be less affected by sanctions, informs The Press Association.

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