Jul 29, 2021

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On Tuesday, an explosion caused by a gas leak at a pipeline pumping station connecting the Cheshmeh Khosh oilfield to the city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran killed three technicians and injured three other people.

The cause of the explosion was unknown. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh called for the state oil company NIOC to take the necessary steps to help workers and their families in the area and to send health, safety, and environment (HSE) teams to investigate the cause of the blast, the oil ministry’s news website SHANA reported.

Iran has been plagued by unexplained fires and explosions in recent weeks which have been blamed on an extreme heatwave. On Monday night an explosion at a state-owned warehouse in Karaj, west of Tehran led to a major fire. Reports on Iranian state media said the blaze was the result of an electrical fire. 

But these mysterious catastrophes have been striking for quite some time. Last month, a massive fire broke out at the state-owned Tondgooyan Petrochemical Co. oil refinery. Reports blamed the blaze on a blast that reportedly struck a pipeline for liquefied petroleum gas at the facility. Also last month, a drone attack reportedly damaged an Iranian nuclear facility in Karaj used for assembling centrifuges for uranium enrichment.

Also last month, a large fire broke out in a steel mill in Zarand, Kerman Province leading to a large explosion.

At the same time, the Khark, the largest warship in the Iranian navy, caught fire and later sank in the Gulf of Oman under unclear circumstances.

In May, the Sepahan Nargostar petrochemical plant in Asaluyehin in the Bushehr province of southern Iran was hit by an explosion that killed one worker and injured two others. Authorities said the blast originated in the oxygen transmission pipeline to two local petrochemical complexes. It was later revealed that the plant produced drones. Coincidentally, the IDF shot down an Iranian-made drone just a few days prior, after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards announced the production of a new combat drone dubbed “Gaza” in a tribute to Palestinians.

Many of the destructive events struck key Iranian military assets. In an interview with Channel 12 last month, Yossi Cohen, the former head of the Mossad, revealed that  Israel was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear program and a military scientist.