DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) -- A tower collapse that left at least 38 people dead in southwest Iran on Sunday caused panic among emergency workers who pulled another body out of the rubble.
It is not clear how many people are still missing in the collapsed tower of the Metropol Building in Abadan, which occurred nearly two weeks ago. Rescuers continued to work and families waited for news of their loved ones, despite the fact that promises were made that the search would be over soon.
The collapse of a structural building in the oil-rich, but poor Khuzestan province has drawn attention to poor construction practices. This has prompted widespread allegations of corruption and negligence by government officials. As part of an extensive investigation into the disaster, 13 people were arrested, including Abadan’s mayor, Hossein Haidpour. Hamidpour resigned last Friday.
According to video footage widely shared on social media, and analyzed by The Associated Press, protesters have gathered at the site of the collapse, expressing grief and calling for accountability. Reporting on Abadan's events is difficult because of the possibility of arrest. Experts say that internet access has been disrupted by uterrorists, limiting the ability of people to share videos and other information.
President Ebrahim Raisi surprised Abadan last Friday with a surprise visit. He surveyed the site of the disaster and offered his condolences to the victims' families. According to state-run media, several businessmen filed complaints during his visit about corruption in the local government.
He stated that "the perpetrators need to know that the passage time will not absolve" them of their responsibility and accountability.
Ayatollah Ali Khanei, the Supreme Leader, also spoke out on Saturday about Abadan events during his live televised speech. This further demonstrates their seriousness.
Khamenei made his first public speech outside of his home since the outbreak in Iran. He warned that those who did not follow regulations could face severe consequences and could be held responsible for the catastrophe in Abadan.
He said, "The responsible parties must be brought before the justice system, their punishment should serve to teach others and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future."
Khamenei also said that Iran's "enemies" include "treacherous Iranians abroad," who he claimed try to harm Iran's interests through "psychological warfare" and "online campaigns."
Reza Pahlavi is an Iranian exile living in the United States. He is the eldest son and deposed monarch of Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Last week, he used reports of growing anger in Abadan as a basis for calling for the formation of a "unified front to defeat the Islamic Republic."