At least 17 people have been killed and dozens more hurt after a train derailed in eastern Iran, state media report.
The train, which was carrying 348 passengers, came off the line between the cities of Mashhad and Yazd about 50km from Tabas.
Emergency services officials said the train collided with an excavator before being knocked off the track.
They warned that the death toll could rise because many of the injured were in critical condition in hospital.
Tabas county governor Ali Akbar Rahimi told state media that four of the train’s seven carriages were knocked off the line.
One official suggested that the excavator might have been part of a repair project.
National rescue service spokesperson Mojtaba Khaled told reporters that a large rescue operation was under way and that three helicopters and 10 ambulances had been dispatched to the scene.
One of those that are injured told a reporter that they felt the train brake suddenly and then slow before the derailment.
An investigation has been launched by the Tabas prosecutor to establish how the train came to strike the excavator. —BBC