Thu, July 16, 2009
World > Americas > Iran's passenger plane crash

U.S. expresses condolences over Iran's plane crash

2009-07-16 00:47:58 GMT2009-07-16 08:47:58 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday expressed condolences to relatives of the 168 people who were killed in a plane crash earlier in the day near Iran's northwestern city of Gazvin.

The United States "extends it condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in today's crash," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a brief statement.

"We are working through the U.S. embassy in Yerevan and the Swiss Protecting Power in Iran to determine whether any American citizens were on board," he said.

The United States and Iran severed diplomatic ties soon after the Islamic Revolution broke out in the Islamic Republic in 1979.

An Iranian passenger plane crashed Wednesday morning near the country's northwestern city of Gazvin and all 168 people on board were killed, Iran's state TV IRIB website reported.

The crash took place 11 minutes after take-off from Tehran's international Imam Khomeini airport and 112.7 km from the capital city.

The Russia-made Tupolev passenger plane had been traveling from Tehran to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, Iran's satellite Press TV said, adding that the plane was completely destroyed and its wreckage in flames.

The cause of the disaster is not immediately clear, but the officials have attributed the incident to the technical problems of the airliner.

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