TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- A plane carrying Iran's transport minister and seven members of parliament crashed in heavy rain in eastern Iran on Thursday, killing everyone on board, the Interior Ministry said. At least 29 people were killed.
The wreckage was found in a region between the eastern cities of Kashmar and Neishabour in Khorasan province, Interior Ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani told the official Islamic Republic News Agency. The site is 425 miles east of Tehran.
The head of the Civil Aviation Organization, Behzad Mazaheri, said there were 32 people on board. The discrepancy could not be immediately explained.
Transportation Minister Rahman Dadman and his delegation, including seven legislators, were on their way to Gorgan, 190 miles northeast of Tehran, to inaugurate the city's airport, the local governor said on state television. It was not clear why the plane was flying 250 miles east of its intended destination.
Most of the legislators were reformists and all were from Golestan province, where Gorgan is the capital. Dadman, appointed to the Cabinet in January, was a reformist and supporter of President Mohammad Khatami.
The deaths were not expected to affect the political balance in parliament, where reformists hold an overwhelming majority.
The plane, a Russian YAK-40, was operated by Faraz Qeshm Airlines and had 11 crew members on board, IRNA reported.
A Faraz Qeshm Airlines official speaking on condition of anonymity said five of the crew were Armenians.
A delegation from the Armenian Aviation Organization arrived in Tehran Thursday to observe the Iranian search mission, IRNA reported.
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