The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic has finally acknowledged the collapse of the Metropol complex in Abadan three and a half days after it occurred.
In a statement on Friday, Ali Khamenei said of the disaster, which is so far known to have claimed 19 lives: "The perpetrators of the incident must face the instructive punishment of the judiciary.
"I consider it necessary to thank the government officials for their several days' work for several days and demand a full enquiry and the utmost seriousness on this matter. I offer my condolences to the victims of the accident, and ask for their patience."
The message was published in official media, contrary to the usual practice of it appearing on Khamenei's website first. It came swiftly after Khamenei was widely criticised for his failure to even mention the tragedy in an hour-long address to MPs the previous day. Fresh protests took place on the streets of some cities last night, including Abadan and Khorramshahr.