At least 44 people were killed and 39 injured in Iran when two intercity buses collided outside the capital Tehran and caught fire.

A police spokesman said the crash occurred after a tyre on a bus travelling from Isfahan to Tehran had a puncture causing it to swerve into oncoming traffic, where it crashed into a second bus.

Both buses caught fire after the collision.

Statistics compiled by UNICEF show that road crashes occur in Iran at a rate 20 times higher than the world average.

Nearly 28,000 people are killed and 300,000 people injured annually in the country of 75 million.