Iranian state-media is reporting the explosion of a ‘wood and oil’ factory in Qazvin, Iran, resulting in an estimated 50 casualties.
Police have reportedly closed off all roads within a 2km radius of the area surrounding the facility. Local media reports noted the skies above Qazvin have filled with dense smoke cover. Other outlets are reporting that a military presence has moved into the area.
Mehr News Agency reported the fire is threatening to ignite an 18,000 liter oil storage tank. Mehr said firefighters are working on containing the “out of control blaze.”
Local Governor Saeed MIrbaha has largely contradicted the earlier reports, saying there were no deaths in the blast, but local emergency services were on scene to try and contain the blaze.
Many suspect Iran houses a secret nuclear enrichment facility in close proximity to Qazvin. According to the 2009 report, a local opposition group said in a press conference at the Iran Policy Committee in Washington that Iran was secretly building an underground uranium enrichment facility “deep inside mountains between Abyek and Qazvin.” An Iranian opposition leader said at the time, “So far the regime has spent 100 million dollars on the project.”
Many explosions have been reported in the area over the past few years, but few were ever recognized or verified by Iran’s state-controlled media.
Qazvin is located in northern Iran, approximately 100 miles from its capital city Tehran, and home to 381 thousand Iranians. Qazvin is also home to one of Iran’s largest power plants, which is responsible for 7% of the total power output to the country. The city was a former capital of the ancient Persian Empire. Qazvin was the epicenter of the 1921 coup d’etat that resulted in the formation of the Pahlavi dynasty. The dynasty was dismantled in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution, and followed with the installation of the Islamist Ayatollah Khomeini.