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Death toll in southwestern Iran tower collapse rises to 41

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) – The death toll in the collapse of a building in southwestern Iran rose yesterday to at least 41, state media reported, two weeks after the disaster struck.

Governor of the city of Abadan Ehsun Abbaspour gave the figure based on an official report, state television said.

The May 23 collapse at the Metropol Building some 660 kilometres southwest of the capital, Tehran, has dredged up painful memories of past national disasters and shined a spotlight on shoddy construction practices, government corruption and negligence in Iran.

It follows weeks of sporadic protests roiling the oil-rich but impoverished Khuzestan province over skyrocketting prices after the government cut subsidies for several food staples.

There have been protests in Abadan over the collapse, which have seen police club demonstrators and fire tear gas.

Debris hangs from the Metropol building, a 10-storey commercial building in the southwestern city of Abadan. PHOTO: AP