Iran students in rare protest over deadly campus bus crash

TEHRAN (AFP) – Hundreds of Iranian students held protests for a second day last 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 last 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 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 television 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 last 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 ageing 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 last Wednesday.