TEHRAN (FNA)- European countries offered their condolences to Iran over the tragic plane crash near the Iranian city of Qazvin that claimed 168 lives.
The Tupolev plane went down near Jannat-Abad village at 11:33 am local time on Wednesday after it departed the Iranian capital of Tehran for Yerevan in Armenia.
According to Iran's Aviation Organization spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh, the 7908 Caspian Airlines flight crashed 16 minutes after its take-off from Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA).
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis expressed her condolences over the loss to her Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki on Thursday, press tv reported.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also voiced his deepest sympathy to Mr. Mottaki and the families of the victims.
Pope Benedict XVI also offered his prayers to the deceased and their families.
In a telegram signed by Card Tarcisio Bertone sent to Mgr Jean-Paul Gobel, apostolic nuncio to Iran, Benedict XVI offered "his heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and the families of the victims".
The Pope said he would pray "for the eternal repose of the dead" and implore "the almighty and merciful God's gifts of comfort and strength on those who mourn the loss of their loved ones."
The US, Russia, Germany and the UAE had earlier expressed sympathy with the Iranian nation over the crash.