Reports: At least 35 killed in Iran coal mine explosion

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Three semi-official news agencies in Iran say the death toll from a coal mine explosion has risen to at least 35 people killed.

The Fars, Mehr and Tasnim news agencies all carried similar reports Thursday morning.

The explosion Wednesday rocked the Zemestanyurt mine, which lies 14 kilometers (9 miles) from Azadshahr in Iran’s northern Golestan province.

Government officials have rushed to the site. So far, investigators believe gas in the mine sparked the explosion.

Similar mine disasters have struck oil-rich Iran before.

Since Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, the country has begun an effort to renovate some of its coal mines. Delegations have visited Tehran from foreign countries including the Czech Republic, hopeful for contracts.

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