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Accidental Explosions at Iranian Military Base Kill 17, State Media Says


Military spokesman: "Due to an incident, an explosion happened." Lawmaker: "No sabotage...nothing to do with politics."

A cloud of black smoke rises after accidental explosions rocked an ammunitions depot in Iran. (Image source: Fars News Agency)

Two massive accidental explosions rocked a military weapons depot near the Iranian capital of Tehran Saturday, killing at least 17 people and injuring others while troops were transporting munitions, Iranian state television reported.

According to Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency, the blasts happened around noon in one of the arsenals belonging to the Revolutionary Guard, Iran's military force.

"My dear colleagues in the Revolutionary Guards were moving munitions in one of the arsenals at that base when, due to an incident, an explosion happened," a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guard said on state TV after the blasts first happened. "Fifteen people were martyred and scores of others injured. Some of those injured are in critical condition."

The spokesman did not say what precisely caused the explosion, but Iranian lawmaker Parviz Soroori said it was not due to sabotage.

"No sabotage was involved in this incident. It has nothing to do with politics," Soroori was quoted as saying by the parliament's website.

Witnesses told Reuters the explosions were so strong they were felt nearly 30 miles away. Many assumed there had been a minor earthquake. CBS reported the blasts were strong enough to break nearby building windows.

The explosion comes amid rising tensions between Israel and the United States. Earlier this week, a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran is working to procure equipment to design a nuclear bomb under the guise of a peaceful nuclear energy program.

Days ago, Israel's defense minister warned they would not "take any option off the table" with regard to a possible strike against Iran's nuclear weapons program. A report last week said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to rally support among his cabinet for an attack on Iran.

Media reports varied on the actual death toll Saturday, first reported at 15, then at 27 before being confirmed at 17.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

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