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Iran Mourns After Deadly Plane Crash

(RFE/RL) 7 December 2005 -- Iran is in mourning today following the deaths of at least 116 people, including many journalists, who were killed on 6 December when a military plane hit a Tehran apartment block and burst into flames.

The European Union has sent condolences to Iran over the crash, with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, speaking on behalf of the 25-member bloc, saying the disaster has caused a terrible loss of life.

Engine failure is being investigated as the possible cause of the crash, which killed all 94 people aboard the aging U.S.-made C-130 aircraft and at least 22 people on the ground. Reports say the plane may have been obtained from the United States before the Islamic Revolution.

The dead included some 70 or more radio and television journalists and technicians who had taken off from Tehran bound for Bandar Abbas to report on Iranian military exercises in the Persian Gulf region.

The plane is reported to have encountered engine trouble shortly after takeoff.

The crash was the third to kill more than 100 people in Iran in the last four years.