The Caspian Airlines plane, a Russian-built Tupolev, was flying from Tehran to the Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. It crashed over farmland just 16 minutes after taking off from Tehran’s international Imam Khomeiny airport.
“It is highly likely that all the passengers on the flight were killed,” Hossein Bahzadpour, the Qazvin emergency services director, told the IRNA news agency.
The Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation’s spokesman, Reza Jafarzadeh, said there were 153 passengers and 15 crew on board.
Masoud Jafari Nasab, the Qazvin police chief, said: “The passenger plane was completely destroyed and the wreckage was scattered everywhere.”
A Caspian Airlines representative in Yerevan told Associated Press that most of the passengers were Armenians. There were some Georgian citizens and other nationalities on board as well.
Iran is barred by international sanctions from buying American Boeing planes or European Airbus craft. So it uses predominately outdated Russian aircraft, and has suffered a number of aviation disasters over the past decade.
Twenty-nine people were killed in September 2006 when an airliner came off the runway after landing in the eastern city of Mashhad and burst into flames.
In November 2006, a military plane crashed on take off at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, killing all 39 people on board.