Hundreds of Iranian students held protests; for a second day on Sunday, calling for university officials; to resign over a bus crash that killed 10, state news agency IRNA said.
The demonstrating students reportedly carried photos of victims of Tuesday’s crash at a square leading to the university, in a rare display of dissent; at Tehran’s Islamic Azad University.
They demanded the university’s chairman of the board of trustees in IRANIAN Ali-Akbar Velayati resign, the sports and youth ministry’s news agency Borna reported.
The bus was; carrying 30 students along a mountainous road within; the university’s science and research campus in northwestern Tehran when it veered off the road and hit a concrete column.
Seven were killed instantly, state TV said, while an updated death toll of 10 was; reported by the conservative Tasnim news agency the day after the crash.
The university initially blamed Tuesday’s crash on the driver having a stroke, which was later denied by the coroner’s office.
On social media, the public and students have pointed to the university’s aging bus fleet and poor maintenance.
Several mid-tier managers were fired; in the wake of the accident and some arrested, the university told semi-official news agency ISNA on Wednesday.
Students have called; for the university’s bus fleet; to be replaced.
[They want an emergency centre to be set up on-campus and for guard rails to be erected along the entire mountainous road where the accident happened.
Iran’s prosecutor general Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri visited the protesting students and called for calm.
He promised them; he would follow up on the case personally and punish wrongdoers [“if they were found guilty.”]
Iran is the world’s seventh deadliest country per capita for road accidents, according to 2013 data — the latest available — published by the World Health Organisation.
Efforts to modernise Iran’s ageing and highly polluting vehicle fleet have been hampered by a lack of investment.
[Foreign companies Peugeot and Renault were forced]; to withdraw this year due to the return of US sanctions.