A Massive fire broke out at an oil refinery in the southern part of the Iranian capital Tehran on Wednesday, a few hours after Iran’s largest navy ship the Kharg caught fire and later sank in the Gulf of Oman, Iranian state media reported, saying there were so far no reports of casualties.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said all operations had been suspended at the facility, known as the Tondguyan refinery, as firefighters tried to contain the blaze.
“A leak at a liquid gas pipeline at the facility sparked the fire,” Mansour Darajati, the head of Tehran’s crisis management organisation, told state TV. The cause of fire will be investigated, he added.
“Around 18 storage tanks at the refinery have so far caught fire”, the Young Journalists Club (YJC), an IRIB-affiliated news agency reported.
Iran’s Oil Minister Zanganeh told reporters that “there is nothing to worry about” and that the refinery in Tehran will resume normal operations tomorrow. Says the refinery “has not been damaged”.
The official news agency of Iran’s oil ministry says that only “two oil tanks” are on fire and repeats Oil Minister Zanganeh’s comment that the refinery hasn’t been damaged.
Shaker Khafaii, head of the Tehran Oil Refining Co, which runs the refinery, ruled out the possibility of sabotage, Iran’s state TV reported.
Iranian media said ambulances and firefighters had been dispatched to the area, while TV said thick plumes of black smoke over the refinery could be seen from different parts of Tehran as far as 20 Kms. The fire at the refinery happened a few hours after Iran’s largest navy ship the Kharg caught fire and later sank in the Gulf of Oman.
Reports from Tehran, Iran indicate that locals are flocking to gas stations after a massive fire broke out at Tehran’s Oil Refinery.
It wasn’t immediately clear what started the blaze. Different Conspiracy theories are floating around on the social media.
Hezbollah was quick to suspect Israel’s hand. Hezbollah Watch tweeted, “The double fire—the IRIS Kharg & the petrochemical refinery in south Tehran—, broke out hours apart, raised suspicions that Iran was once again a sabotage target, as diplomacy to resurrect the nuclear deal advanced”
Conspiracy Theory targeting Israel of Sabotage Floated by New York Times
New York Times also floated the conspiracy theory of sabotage by Israel, in fact declaring Israel is behind every fire, every accident, every blast in Iran.
In their article, New York times writes, “Mysterious fires sank Iran’s largest warship and burned a big Tehran oil refinery on Wednesday — seemingly unconnected blazes that nonetheless raised suspicions the country had once again been targeted by Israeli saboteurs.”
“The fires broke out hours apart as Iran was reporting progress in talks aimed at resurrecting the international nuclear agreement scrapped three years ago by the Trump administration, which the Biden administration wants to restore. Israel, which regards Iran as a dangerous adversary, opposes such an accord, contending it will not stop Iran from weaponizing nuclear fuel.”
“Iran has sought to prevent recent acts of sabotage from derailing the nuclear negotiations. But it has acknowledged serious security holes and Israel’s infiltration abilities, including an explosion that wrecked part of its Natanz uranium enrichment complex less than two months ago.”
“Political analysts outside Iran viewed the Kharg fire as more than a coincidence, even though some Iranian naval calamities have been accidental.”
“Obviously, the thing we’re all looking for is if the Israelis are involved,” said Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House, a research organization in Britain. “The Israeli security establishment is using this period to define some new red lines vis-à-vis Iran and really demonstrate their capacity.”
Other Theories to the cause of the Fire floating around on social media
Some people blame the fire to the high temperature of 40 degrees Celsius to the fire. Some intelligent journalists wrote, “Temperatures in Tehran reached nearly 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday. Hot summer weather in Iran has caused fires in the past.“
Some social media users say, “Iran’s infrastructure is ageing, not every fire in Iran is caused by Mossad and likewise not every fire in Israel is called by IRGC.”
There was one News Agency AVA Today that claimed that “Sources say there were no gas or oil leaks and that the fire was caused by C-4 explosives. Eyewitnesses reported hearing three consecutive explosions inside the refinery.”
More incidents in Past in Iran
The incident marks the latest setback for Iran. The largest ship in the Iranian navy caught fire and later sank yesterday i.e. Wednesday 2-June 2021 in the Gulf of Oman. The incident took place during a training exercise on the roadstead of the naval base in Bandar Abbas. No casualties were reported.
Earlier there was a blast at Iran Factory that supplied Drones to Hamas Terrorists. 9 people were injured.
Israel has been blamed for several recent sabotage incidents in Iranian facilities related to its nuclear program.
After the Hamas Terrorist attacks on Israel with Iranian supplied Missiles, this is another event in the series of incidents that can be described as the ones for unknown reasons.
In 2020 during an Iranian military training exercise, a missile mistakenly struck a naval vessel near the port of Jask, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15.
On 13-July 2020, A minor fire broke out at a facility belonging to the Shahid Tondgooyan Petrochemical Company in southwest Iran but was quickly contained. The fire was caused by an oil leak. It was put out in less than ten minutes.
On 20-October 2019, A canal carrying waste from Iran’s Abadan oil refinery caught fire. “The refinery’s fire department contained the fire and prevented it from spreading to other units,” state broadcaster IRIB said on its website.
Also in 2018, an Iranian navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
On 28-June 2018, a fire in an oil refinery in the city of Abadan in southwestern Khuzestan province has killed one person and injured 18. The Abadan petrochemical complex caught fire on midnight.
A fire at an oil rig in southern Iran in October 2017 killed four workers. It happened just days after another fire at an oil refinery killed seven workers.
In 2016, several fires at Iranian petrochemical plants and facilities raised suspicions about hacking potentially having played a role in starting them.
Fires and similar incidents occur occasionally in Iran’s aging oil-related facilities that were hit hard by years of Western sanctions.
Points to Ponder
A country that cannot keep its refineries or Naval ships safe, can that country be allowed to keep Nuclear material?
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