TEHRAN -- The number of people in a large building collapse in the southwestern city of Abadan last week has risen to 29, officials said on Saturday.
A large section of the 10-story Metropol building that was under construction in Abadan, Khuzestan province collapsed Monday.
The building included two towers, one already built and the other under construction, though its bottom commercial floors had been opened for a few days and already had tenants. At the time of the collapse the construction work was still continuing above.
The collapse is the deadliest incident of its kind in Iran for years. It has blocked the city’s busiest road, with surrounding buildings evacuated.
Due to the fear of adjacent buildings’ imminent collapse, search operations are moving slowly and carefully.
Vahid Shabani, the head of Khuzestan province Red Crescent Society, said that search through the rubble will last until the last body is retrieved.
The building’s poor safety standards seem to be the cause of the collapse; however, an investigation is underway to decide what caused the incident.
Iranian Vice President Muhammad Mokhber told national TV that he believed there had been “widespread corruption” during the construction of the tower.
According to local authorities, legally the building was only allowed to have six floors, but four more floors were added when it was built.
So far, 13 people linked to the deadly incident have been arrested and their possessions are confiscated to compensate for the losses inflicted on the victims and public properties, Sadeq Ja’fari Chegani, the public prosecutor of Khuzestan, told Fars news agency.
“A special working group is tasked with investigating the matter from various aspects to both sentence the culprits and compensate for the losses victims have suffered,” Chegani said, adding that “to cover the losses victims and public properties have sustained, some of the assets found in the possessions [of the culprits] are confiscated.”
He also said that the building’s owner is confirmed to have been killed in the collapse as DNA evidence has proven his identity.
Hassan Karami, the commander of the Special Units of the Iranian Police Force, also said that police forces at the scene are establishing peace in the city and help the victims along with other rescue and relief teams.
He said that while negative coverage by foreign broadcasters aim to provoke protests and “disturb public opinion,” forces of the Special