23:21 GMT04 August 2020
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    Multiple fires and explosions have been reported around military, nuclear and industrial facilities in Iran since late June, triggering speculation regarding the cause of the incidents

    A fire reportedly broke out on Monday at an industrial complex of the Kavian Fariman liquefied natural gas company in northeast Iran, according to Mehr News Agency.

    Police have launched an investigation into the causes of the incident, after one of the gas condensate storage tanks is believed to have exploded, with six others catching fire.

    ​Javad Jahandoust, a fire chief at the industrial complex some 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of the city of Mashhad, was quoted by Reuters as saying the fire was brought under control without spreading to surrounding factories, and there were no casualties.

    The incident comes amid a spate incidents that have recently occurred in various parts of Iran in the past few weeks, sparking speculation regarding the possible causes.

    On 26 June an explosion was reported near the Parchin military site in the northeast part of the capital Tehran due to "a gas tank explosion," said officials, who claimed there were no casualties in the incident.

    On 30 June, 19 people are believed to have died in another explosion, which occurred at a medical facility in Tajrish, northern Tehran, with reports also attributing the blast to a problem with the oxygen tanks.

    This was followed by an incident on 2 July at the Natanz nuclear facility, Iran’s primary uranium processing facility, 155 miles south of Tehran in Isfahan province, which damaged an "industrial shed" close to the main building.

    A view of a damage building after a fire broke out at Iran's Natanz Nuclear Facility, in Isfahan, Iran, July 2, 2020
    © REUTERS / Wana News Agency
    A view of a damage building after a fire broke out at Iran's Natanz Nuclear Facility, in Isfahan, Iran, July 2, 2020

    The incident sparked reports citing unnamed Iranian officials suggesting that Israel was behind the blast.

    On 10 July the Iranian Foreign Ministry warned that if Tehran discovered that "foreign elements" were behind the explosion at Natanz nuclear site, there would be consequences.

    The statement by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi followed the Kuwaiti daily al-Jarida citing an unnamed "senior" source as suggesting earlier this month that Israel was behind the Natanz explosion, as well as the blast at Iran's Parchin military complex.

    No casualties or leaks of radioactive materials were reported after the blast at the Natanz nuclear site, where Tehran reportedly installed new advanced centrifuges in November 2019 in retaliation for the earlier unilateral exit of the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

    After Donald Trump’s administration quit the accord, citing Iran’s alleged violations of its terms, it reinstated crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

    Centrifuge machines in Natanz uranium enrichment facility
    © AP Photo / Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
    Centrifuge machines in Natanz uranium enrichment facility

    In response, Iran began gradually boosting uranium enrichment, including at Natanz, while maintaining that is has no goal of developing nuclear weapons and that its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful in nature.


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