Another mysterious explosion – a series of them, according to some sources – rocked Tehran on Thursday night, knocking out the power along the western edge of the city.
While Iranian officials characteristically rushed to deny that any explosions occurred or dismissed the incident as the latest in a string of minor industrial accidents, eyewitnesses and local media reported the blasts appear to have struck a missile storage facility used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
Iranian state media quoted social media users who reported hearing the explosions to the west of Tehran and in the nearby cities of Garmdareh and Quds. Those areas soon reported power outages, although the governor of Quds insisted there had been no explosion and the power was only out for a few minutes.
“Along with the denial of the explosion, Iranian media reported that the mayor of Garmdareh had stated that the explosion was caused by gas tanks, but it was later discovered that the quoted mayor had died over a year ago and that the quoted news was from years ago,” the Jerusalem Post noted on Friday, translating a report from the Independent Persian.
“Iranian media had also reported that a security official in the region had attributed the explosion to highway construction, but it was later discovered that the quoted news was from over two years ago,” the Jerusalem Post added.
More confusing reports quoted local witnesses who said they heard no explosions but experienced a much longer power outage than the five minutes claimed by the governor of Qods (who, unlike the mayor of Garmdareh, was still alive as of Friday morning) and the fire chief of Qods, who said no explosions or other disaster incidents had been reported in the past 24 hours.
Apparently the fire chief did not hear the wailing sirens reported by i24 News on Thursday evening. The i24 report quoted an account of multiple explosions from Iran’s Mehr News Agency, plus a claim by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya News that the explosions occurred at the missile depot in an IRGC military base. Deutsche Welle cited a report that different explosions were heard in Tehran, Garmdareh, and Qods.
The incident is the latest in a series of mystery explosions and fires at sites linked to Iran’s nuclear missile program, including a fire at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility on July 2. Iranian officials initially dismissed the fire as a minor workplace malfunction that lightly damaged a tool shed that was still under construction, but satellite photos clearly showed the damage was much more severe.
On Wednesday, the Iranian regime finally admitted the fire inflicted significant damage to the Natanz uranium centrifuge production facility, and finally began muttering about a deliberate campaign of sabotage that demanded an international response. Several Middle Eastern security officials have stated they believe the Israelis sabotaged the facility with a very powerful bomb.
The regime still has not conceded the full extent of the damage at Natanz, which appears to have destroyed almost three-quarters of the main centrifuge assembly hall, damaging that crucial installation so severely that a tear-down and rebuild may be required.