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New Chief at Iranian Railways

New Chief at Iranian RailwaysNew Chief at Iranian Railways

Former deputy of Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, Saeed Mohammadzadeh, has been appointed as the new head of the state-owned rail company, to replace Mohsen Pourseyyed-Aqaei who resigned in the aftermath of a deadly train crash on November 5 in central Iran.

In an official letter issued on Monday, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi appointed Mohammadzadeh as chairman and CEO of IRIR, the ministry’s news service reported.

Forty-nine people died and 103 others were injured in what has become one of the worst rail accidents in Iran in recent memory. The disaster occurred when two trains collided at Haft-Khan Station near Shahroud, about 400 km from Tehran.

Reconstruction of the crash shows that a train travelling between the Iranian capital and the northeastern city of Mashhad had stopped at the station while another train, the Tabriz-Mashhad, rammed into the parked locomotive. 

The accident has been blamed on “human error” by IRIR, explaining that the official at the rail traffic control center had told the train driver to manually disable an automated system that was preventing it from moving toward a broken-down train.

AFP reported the following day that Pourseyyed-Aqaei resigned after four of his deputies were arrested over the crash. Soon after, Akhoundi accepted Pourseyyed-Aqaei’s resignation, appointing Mehrdad Taqizadeh-Behjati as the acting IRIR head.

Lawmakers in parliament also presented a motion for the impeachment of Akhoundi to the Majlis Presiding Board on Sunday. 

The request was signed and forwarded by 84 parliamentarians who cited the minister’s “weak performance” that led to the accident.

Mohammadzadeh, 49, holds a PhD in civil engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology. He has contributed to several rail-related research programs, among other projects.

He was recently appointed as the head of Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company, replacing Ali Nourzad.

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