Huge blast at Teheran military base: accident or sabotage?

Column of smoke at Teheran missile base

Column of smoke after explosion at Teheran missile base

A huge blast at a military base near Teheran today killed 17 people (some reports say 27) and wounded dozens more. Speculation is rife as to what caused the blast; was it an accident or was it sabotage, and if so, who is the culprit?

A massive explosion at a military arms depot near the Iranian capital Tehran on Saturday killed 17 Revolutionary Guards and wounded 15, a spokesman for the elite fighting force told the semi-official Fars news agency.

Officials said the blast was an accident which happened as troops were moving munitions at a base in Bidganeh, near the town of Shahriar, some 45 km west of Tehran.

“Today at 13:30, (0900 GMT), an explosion happened in one of the Revolutionary Guards’ bases while a consignment of explosive devices was being moved out from the arsenal, besides that some munitions in the arsenal exploded which created a terrifying sound,” Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif told state TV.

There were no reports linking the blast to any air strike or other attack. Tension has risen in recent weeks between Iran and its enemies Israel and the United States, which have not ruled out attacking facilities whose occupants they believe are working towards making nuclear weapons.

Sharif denied what he said was speculation in the Western media that the military base was linked to Iran’s nuclear program.

“This blast is not related to any nuclear tests that some foreign media have reported,” he told Mehr.

An Iranian exile group reports that the blast took place at a missile base, and was caused by the explosion of missiles.

A former spokesman for the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, in Washington, citing reliable sources inside Iran, said Saturday that the explosion hit the Modarres Garrison of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps west of Tehran. Alireza Jafarzadeh said the garrison belongs to the IGRC’s missile unit and the blasts “resulted from the explosion of IRGC missiles.”

Iran has been hit by several mysterious explosions in recent years but an Iranian lawmaker ruled out sabotage.

Hmm. That was careless of them.

According to past reports by Iranian opposition groups, the village of Bidganeh is where the Fifth Raad Missile Brigade is stationed. The brigade is responsible for launching Shahab 3 and 4 missiles. Satellite images of the site reveal two large military bases near the village.

This explosion is good news whatever its cause. Iran is not only a burgeoning nuclear menace, but its conventional weaponry too is a very serious threat both to Israel and the West. Iran has threatened to retaliate against Israel should the US attack it, and conversely has threatened to attack American and Western assets if Israel attacks it.

Since its Shihab and Zilzal missiles can already reach Israel and Europe, it’s all good news if several of those have been taken out.  And I hope it wasn’t an accident.

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2 Responses to Huge blast at Teheran military base: accident or sabotage?

  1. Earl says:

    The Telegraph suggests a senior field-level Iranian officer died in the blast:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/8887322/Iran-missile-development-commander-killed-in-explosion.html

    /I can smell the fellow’s cheap pomade through the screen…
    /irrespective of his olfactory crimes, still A Good Thing if he died

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