Caspian Airlines flight 7908, headed from Tehran to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, crashed went down at 11:33 am near the village of Jannatabad, in the Takestan region of Iran's Qazvin province, media reported.
The Russian-made Tupolev plane went down 16 minutes after departure, Gen. Massoud Jafari-Nasab told Fars news agency. Reza Jafarzadeh, spokesman for the state aviation company in Yerevan, told Iranian television that 153 passengers and 15 crew members were aboard.
"Evidence shows that the plane has broken into pieces and all the passengers on board are feared dead," Gen. Jafari-Nasab told Islamic Republic News Agency.
Among those presumed dead were about 25 Armenians and 10 members of Iran's junior national judo team.
Video of the crash site showed a huge crater in the earth scattered with charred pieces of the plane and tattered passports.
Caspian Airlines is a Russian-Iranian joint venture that was founded in the early 1990s.
Iran has frequent plane crashes, often due to poor maintenance of aging planes. In the past, Tehran has blamed its plane problems, in part, on U.S. sanctions that it says prevent Iran from getting spare parts. But Caspian airliners are Russian-made planes, so U.S. sanctions would not have the same effect on aircraft maintenance.
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