Two workers were killed in an explosion that took place at a military explosives factory southeast of Tehran, near the suspected nuclear reactor in Parchin, IRNA, the official Iranian news agency, reported Monday.
The agency quoted Iran’s Defense Industries Organization, which said a fire occurred Sunday night, killing two people. The agency did not provide additional information.
The semi-official ISNA news agency also reported that an explosion occurred at a military base near Tehran, killing two people.
“Unfortunately, two workers were killed,” the defense organization’s spokesman was quoted as saying.
The Saham opposition website reported that a huge explosion occurred at the large facility in Parchin, located 30 km. southeast of Tehran.
According to the report, the powerful explosion blew out the windows of buildings located up to 15 km. away from the base, and eyewitnesses could observe the blast from a distance.
Parchin is a controversial military base where Israel and the International Atomic Energy Agency suspect the Islamic Republic is attempting to develop a nuclear explosive device. IAEA inspectors have not been permitted to enter the site since 2005.
A statement from Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, issued a day before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – the architect of Tehran’s diplomacy with the big powers – was to address the UN General Assembly, said internal neutron sources such as uranium were used in nuclear implosion tests at Parchin.
Israel, his statement said, based its information on “highly reliable information,” without elaborating.
In May, a fire broke out in an oil storage facility in the northwestern Iranian city of Qazvin. There were conflicting reports of casualties, with state news agency IRNA reporting none and the Iranian Fars news agency reporting that there were around 50 people injured, some seriously.
Channel 2 News reported that in the past it was claimed that Qazvin hosted an “unreported nuclear site” that contained stored uranium. In January of last year, Israeli intelligence officials confirmed that an explosion damaged Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility, which is being used to enrich uranium.
Three years ago, Iran said a massive explosion at a military base 45 km. west of Tehran killed 17 Revolutionary Guards members, including the head of the elite force’s missile program. It said the blast was caused by an accident while weapons were being moved.
Jerusalem Post staff and Reuters contributed to this report.