A large explosion near a suspected nuclear site in Iran has reportedly killed two people and prompted speculation of sabotage at a military site long suspected of housing Tehran’s clandestine nuclear activities, according Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO), which operates under the country’s Ministry of Defense.
One explosion rocked a production plant late Sunday night in east Tehran, near the Parchin nuclear site, according to Farsi language reports in Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.
The explosion at a facility referred to as a "production plant" caused a fire that killed two workers, according to Fars, which cited information provided by Iran’s DIO.
Fars first reported news of the explosion, claiming that it took place at an "explosive material factory" near Parchin.
Iranian opposition groups claimed a higher death toll than reported, with some claiming that "at least four military personnel were wounded" in the blast.
Official state run outlets, which often censor material, quoted the head of Tehran’s Fire Squad as saying that four fire stations responded to control the fire and that some were "wounded" during this.
These official reports acknowledge that Parchin is a military site, but claim that actual explosion took place at a non-military installation used as a waste storage depot.
Other thinly sourced reports, such as one from London’s Manoto TV, claimed that as many as 35 were killed in the explosion, though no such number has been confirmed.
Other reports referred to a "strong" and "tremendous explosion" that "shook Eastern Tehran" and blew out the windows of a nearby building and impacted about a 10-mile area, according to Saham News.
The report also cites the explosion as taking place near the "Parchin military site," which has been known to house "high explosives" and other work related to Iran’s nuclear program, according to the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
"The Parchin site is among the military sites of Tehran which produce solid fuel for ballistic missiles without any safety rules and precautions," Saham reported, according to a translation provided by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Iranian security forces blocked off local streets and assumed a presence near the facility following the explosion, according to the report.
Other Persian reports indicate that Iranian authorities are trying to contain details of the explosion. BBC’s Persian language website, for instance, reported that the Iranian Defense Ministry has not announced the exact name of the place where the explosion took place.
The English language versions of news sites operated by the Iranian regime contain no reports of the explosion as of this afternoon.
The explosion came just hours before inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) were set to tour some of Iran’s nuclear sites, according to Fars.
Iran has long claimed that Western nations and Israel are attempting to sabotage its nuclear site.
Iranian authorities claimed in March that they had thwarted an attempt by other nations to wreak havoc on the country’s nuclear sites, including its heavy water nuclear reactor at Arak.
"Several cases of industrial sabotage have been neutralized in the past few months before achieving the intended damage, including sabotage at a part of the IR-40 facility at Arak," the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization official was quoted as saying in the press at the time.
The Washington Free Beacon will update this report as new information becomes available.
Published under: Iran , Nuclear Weapons