Passenger train derailment in Iran kills at least 22

A passenger train has derailed in eastern Iran, killing at least 22 and injuring 87, the Associated Press reported.

Run by state-owned Islamic Republic Railway, the train with around 350 passengers on board was traveling from the northeast city of Mashhad to the central city of Yazd.

It collided with an excavator before derailing 50 km from Tabas, state news agency IRNA quoted a railway official as saying.

About 900 km by road from Tehran, Tabas is located in the province of South Khorasan.

The accident is currently under investigation and it is believed that the presence of the excavator near the track was due to a repair project.

According to state television, 11 carriages from the train overturned in the early morning accident and some of them were taken to hospital by helicopter.

Emergency services spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi was quoted by state television as saying the death toll could rise as some of the injured are in critical condition.

Without detecting or providing details of their alleged crimes, arrest warrants were issued for six people, Iranian media reported.

President Ebrahim Raisi has given orders to speed up the investigation into the causes that led to the accident.

Last year in June, train crashes in Egypt killed two people and injured 40 others.

The accident happened when a locomotive slammed into a passenger train at Misr station in Alexandria.

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Jose P. Rogers