An Iranian military aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from a Tehran airport on Monday, killing 36 people on board, state-run television reported.
It said two people survived the crash of the Russian-designed Antonov-74 and were in hospital. Air safety experts say Iran has a poor record, with a string of crashes in the past few decades -- many involving Russian-made aircraft.
The plane was being used by the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological wing of the Islamic Republic’s military.
A statement by the Guards, read on state television, said 30 Guards members and six crew were killed. “Two members of the Revolutionary Guards have also been injured and have been transferred to hospital,” the statement said.
Earlier, the television said all 38 on board were killed.
Iran’s Mehr News Agency said the plane was burned out and that the bodies of the dead were charred. Journalists saw ambulances, with sirens wailing, going to the airport but security officials barred entry to the crash site.
The television said the plane was headed for Shiraz, a city south of Tehran, when it crashed after taking off from Mehrabad airport, which is used for civilian and military flights.
The Guards statement said the Guards members “were going to southern Iran on a mission” but gave no further details.
“A team has been formed to investigate the reason for the crash,” the statement said.
U.S. sanctions against Iran have prevented it from buying new aircraft or spares from the West, forcing it to supplement its aging fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes with aircraft from the former Soviet Union.
A military plane crashed in January, killing at least 11 people and another military plane hit a tower block in Tehran in December last year, killing 94 people on board and at least 22 on the ground.
The last civilian aviation disaster was in September, when an Iranian airliner caught fire after landing in the northeastern city of Mashhad, killing 28 people.