Iran horror: Large explosion near military base causes panic in Tehran

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Tehran authorities are looking into the blast, which happened just east of Iran’s capital. A military site, located near where the blast happened, is thought to have been of importance in Iran’s past nuclear endeavours.

The explosion was captured in video footage and pictures shared on social media as local media outlets captured them.

A Twitter user who posted footage of the incident wrote: “We suddenly saw this scene and we were all terrified.”

The images show a bright light flashing through the sky early on Friday, that was then followed by a large column of smoke.

Witnesses said the explosion was located near Parchin, a key military base.

Defence ministry spokesman Davoud Abdi told state TV the explosion occurred at a gas storage site in a “public area” of Parchin rather than the military grounds.

The fire had been extinguished and no deaths had been reported, he added.

But Mr Abdi did not explain further details about what caused the explosion.

“Our colleagues are present on the ground and investigating the incident carefully,” Mr Abdi said.

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“In the early hours after midnight on Friday, a number of social media users reported seeing an orange light in the eastern part of Tehran,” Iran’s Fars news agency reported.

“In the videos sent by (our) readers, this light is seen for a few seconds.”

Fars later reported that the blast was caused by “an industrial gas tank explosion” near a defence ministry-owned site.

Fars cited an “informed source” and insisted the location of the explosion had no co-relation to the military.

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“At the entrance of the (nearby) Parchin military zone, there is no movement or traffic of fire and rescue vehicles,” Fars added.

Mehr news agency had reported a “terrible sound” was heard.

“The cause of this sound and light is not yet known, but it was clearly heard in Pardis, in Boumhen and surrounding areas” of Tehran.

According Iran’s state television reports several entities were investigating the incident.

Fars added that police were taking part in the investigation.

Parchin is home to a major military site where Iranian technicians had reportedly been testing high explosive materials for a nuclear warhead in the early 200s, but this allegation has been refuted by Iran.

“Parchin is basically the largest military explosive manufacturing site in Iran,” said Fabian Hinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“They produce artillery rockets there, and had tests related to nuclear weapons designs before 2003.”

In 2014, the base was believed to have been destroyed by a fire or a blast, but an inquiry by International Atomic Energy Agency was frustrated by a lack of access.

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