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Forty-four killed in collision of two buses in Iran

DUBAI (Reuters) - Forty-four people were killed and 39 injured in Iran when two passenger buses collided outside the capital Tehran and caught fire, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.

At 11 p.m. (1830 GMT / 13:30 p.m. EDT) on Monday night a bus carrying passengers from Isfahan to Tehran suffered a punctured tire, crossed a guardrail and swerved into oncoming traffic, where it hit a second bus travelling from Tehran to Yazd, highway police chief Mohammad Reza Mehmandar told the Mehr news agency.

Both buses erupted in flames after the collision, he said.

Statistics compiled by UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) show that road accidents occur in Iran at a rate 20 times higher than the world average, with nearly 28,000 people killed and 300,000 people injured and disabled annually in the country of 75 million.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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