Tehran: An explosion Saturday at a missile base for Iran’s elite Republican Guard killed at least 27 soldiers and shook buildings west of Tehran, according to authorities, who downplayed any hint of international sabotage aimed at Iran’s nuclear program.
The soldiers were transporting ammunition at a base near Bidgeneh village, about 30 miles outside the capital, when an “explosion occurred as a result of an accident,” Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif said.
Officials had earlier reported that 27 people had been killed in the explosion. The base is home to the Fifth Raad Missile Brigade, which oversees Iran’s medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile.
One of those killed in the explosion was Hasan Tehrani Moqaddam, a top Republican Guard commander involved in the research of long-range missiles.
Sharif said the blast was not linked to a nuclear test or the transport of missiles. Parviz Sorouri, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, told a government website: “No sabotage was involved in this incident. It has nothing to do with politics.”
The explosion came days after the United Nations’ nuclear regulatory agency released a report suggesting that Iran was ignoring international pressure and secretly trying to build nuclear weapons.
The report said Iran’s activities raise “serious concerns” about “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program./ EPakistanNews/ UNN