TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said five Iranian nationals stuck in an avalanche on the border with Turkey have been confirmed dead.

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In a Monday statement, Saeed Khatibzadeh said the five bodies have been recovered and will be transferred to Iran after the necessary arrangements.

“Based on the details received from relevant organizations, following an avalanche when five Iranian Kulbars (cross-border workers carrying goods on the back) went missing on the Iran-Turkey border, the Foreign Ministry made phone contacts and met our country’s consul general in Erzurum, and the Contingency Headquarters in the province of West Azarbaijan followed up on the issue,” the spokesman said.

“Iran sent two memos to Turkish officials, one from Iran’s Embassy in Ankara and the other from the General Consular Department to the Turkish Embassy in Tehran, requesting permission for a search team from the Iranian Red Crescent Society to be sent to the site of the incident and (requesting) Turkish forces cooperate with them to find the bodies of the missing Iranians,” he added.

“Of course, these efforts will continue until their bodies are transferred to Iran,” Khatibzadeh said.

“Border officials have always urged Iranian nationals to avoid illegally crossing the border, so that, given the conditions in the area, they will not run into problems similar to the one these five fellow countrymen faced,” he added, according to the government’s website.

Khatibzadeh also expressed his gratitude to border authorities and the Turkish Red Crescent Society for cooperating to find the bodies of the five Iranian nationals.