An Iranian passenger plane has safely landed after part of an engine fell off during a flight with 426 passengers aboard.

Faramarz Sarvi, deputy head of the private airline Mahan Air, told state TV that the pilots of the Boeing 747 decided to return to Tehran's Mehrabad Airport two minutes after takeoff when, "A piece of engine number three came off and hit the body of the plane."

Sarvi said the incident took place at 7:15 a.m. and that all regular inspections and checks on the plane had been conducted prior to departure.

He said all passengers left for their destination, the southern city of Bandar Abbas, on another aircraft.

Iran has a history of air crashes in recent years, leading to hundreds of casualties.