The head of the Association of Bus Drivers says a bus accident last week that claimed 44 lives was a direct result of the elimination of government subsidies. He says cash-strapped transportation companies have been forced to use low-quality bus parts.

The bus had been traveling on the Tehran-Qom highway when one of its tires exploded, forcing it into the oncoming lane.

Gholamreza Khademizadeh told ILNA: “A faulty tire” was the cause of the accident because, in the past three years, the changes in government subsidies have severely damaged the transportation industry and the supply of bus parts.

He stressed that under such dire economic circumstances, no one can pay 50 million rials for a tire, and the compromised quality of cheap parts can lead to such accidents.

Khademizadeh said it is not fair to pin the blame on the deceased drivers and their assistants while covering up the other factors that led to the tragic accident.