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Death toll from Iran building collapse rises to 41

Iranians gather at the site where a 10-storey building collapsed as rescue operations continue in the southwestern city of Abadan
— Tehran (AFP)

The death toll from the collapse of an Iranian building two weeks ago has risen to 41 after three more bodies were found, local authorities said Monday.

The 10-storey Metropol building that was under construction in Abadan in southwestern Khuzestan province collapsed on May 23, sparking angry protests in solidarity with victims' families.

"The number of victims of the Metropol accident has risen to 41 after the discovery and identification of three more bodies," city governor Ehsan Abbaspour was quoted saying by the official IRNA news agency.

"Rescue teams are still trying to find more bodies under the rubble."

Iran's Vice President for Executive Affairs Solat Mortazavi was quoted as saying that "the remains of the building will be completely destroyed after removing the debris".

The disaster, one of Iran's deadliest in years, sparked a series of demonstrations across the country against authorities accused of corruption and incompetence.

The regional judiciary said it had arrested 13 people, including Abadan's mayor and two former mayors, accused of being "responsible" for the tragedy.

In 2017, the collapse in central Tehran of the Plasco Building, a 15-storey shopping mall dating from the early 1960s, killed 22 people, including 16 firefighters.