A mysterious explosion took place in a steel factory in Iran overnight Sunday,
killing eight people, the latest in a series of blasts that have rocked the
Islamic Republic over the last month.
The deaths occurred in an explosion
and subsequent fire at a steel factory in the central Iranian province of Yazd,
Iran’s IRIB news agency quoted Yazd Governor Azizollah Seifi as saying on
Monday. He said some of those killed were foreign nationals.RELATED:
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The cause of
the explosion was not immediately clear but reports over the years have
indicated the existence of covert nuclear facilities in the city of Yazd and its
On Monday night, an Iranian parliament member said the
blast was caused by old munitions that were caught up and recycled together with
scrap metal at the facility.
While there was no evidence available to
support this possibility, Iran has used seemingly innocent civilian factories
before to hide its illicit nuclear activity.
Some reports have claimed
the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps had built underground nuclear facilities
in the Yazd region. The Iranians are known to have a mine there used to extract
raw uranium and that a nearby facility is where the uranium is turned into
yellowcake, a key component in the nuclear fuel cycle.
It is possible the steel facility
was strictly a steel facility without a military or nuclear
It is also possible though that the factory manufactured
steel parts for missiles or even centrifuges, used to enrich uranium. In either
case, sabotaging such a facility could contribute to efforts aimed at delaying
Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
The blast on Sunday night came
after, last month, a mysterious explosion took place
in the city of Isfahan,
which is home to a nuclear facility involved in processing uranium fed to the
Natanz fuel enrichment facility.
The London Times
reported the explosion
had damaged the nuclear facility but the Institute for Science and International
Security in the US published satellite images that showed extensive work
underway at the facility, but not damage from an explosion.
earlier, on November 12, an explosion hit an Iranian military base
near the town
of Bid Kaneh, killing 17 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and
Maj.-Gen. Hassan Moghaddam, chief architect of the Islamic Republic’s ballistic