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Iranian police disperse crowd gathered at collapsed building

Iranian vice-president Mohammad Mokhber visits the site of a tower at under construction 10-storey Metropol Building (Iranian Senior Vice-President Office via AP)
Iranian vice-president Mohammad Mokhber visits the site of a tower at under construction 10-storey Metropol Building (Iranian Senior Vice-President Office via AP)

Iranian police have used tear gas and fired guns in the air to disperse people gathered near the site of a collapsed 10-storey building where 29 people died, according to reports.

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said people insisted on entering the site in the south-western city of Abadan on Friday night, and the gathering turned into a riot.

Police eventually dispersed people from the area.

A video posted online showed a security officer in Abadan yelling “go back” while pointing his weapon directly at a group of people and firing. In other videos, people can be seen and heard chanting “death to dictator” and “Our enemy is here, they lie that it is America”.

It was unclear whether anyone was hurt in the incident.

A tower at the Metropol Building in Abadan that was under construction collapsed on Monday.

Iran Building Collapse
The scene of the disaster (Iranian Senior Vice-President Office via AP)

Rescue teams pulled three more bodies from the rubble on Saturday, bringing the death toll up to 29.

Thirty-seven people were rescued and three of them were still being treated in a hospital, according to authorities. It was unclear how many more people are buried beneath the rubble.

Authorities have arrested 13 people as part of an investigation into the building’s collapse, including the city’s mayor.

The deadly collapse has raised questions about the safety of similar buildings in the country and underscored an ongoing crisis in Iranian construction projects.

The collapse reminded many of the 2017 fire and collapse of the iconic Plasco building in Tehran that killed 26 people.

Abadan provincial officials have cited “disregard for technical standards” and “overbuilding” during construction, saying negligence caused the collapse.

The building was legally permitted to be a six-storey tower, but four floors had been added during construction.

Meanwhile, state-run media reported on Saturday that two police and a civilian were wounded when two gunmen shot them in Tehran.

It said one officer was in critical condition.

The IRNA report said one of the shooters was arrested.

Earlier this month, a senior member of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, Col Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, was shot dead outside his home in Tehran by unidentified gunmen on a motorbike.

Gun violence is rare in Iran, where citizens are only allowed to own hunting rifles.