Iranian exile group claims missile explosions caused damage at base

Military bases in Iran are not immune to explosions. In October 2010, an explosion occurred at Khoramabad military base in western Iran. (File photo)

An Iranian exile group claims that a blast at a military installation near Tehran has resulted from the explosion of rockets at a base for the missile forces of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

A former spokesman for the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, in Washington, citing reliable sources inside Iran, said Saturday that the explosion hit the Modarres Garrison of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps west of Tehran. Alireza Jafarzadeh said the garrison belongs to the IGRC’s missile unit and the blasts “resulted from the explosion of IRGC missiles.”

Iranian officials said the blast was the result of an accidental explosion at an ammunition depot and that at least 17 soldiers were killed.

The student news agency ISNA quoted Alireza Janeh, head of security issues at the Tehran governor’s office, as saying: “The sound of this blast came from outside Tehran, to the west of the province ... it was in one of the military bases there.”

The blast shattered the windows of residential neighborhoods in the western suburbs of Tehran, witnesses told AFP. It was heard in the city center.

The incident occurred as troops were moving munitions at the base according to the Revolutionary Guards official who was quoted by Reuters.

“The number of martyrs in today’s explosion in one of our ammunition depots stands at 15,” commander Ramezan Sharif was quoted as saying.

Hossein Garousi, a lawmaker from the area, said the blast occurred when “a large part of an ammunition depot exploded,” parliament's website reported.

Garousi said a crisis committee has been set up to investigate the incident.

The arms depot belongs to the elite Revolutionary Guards, according to a statement on their website, which did not give further details.

Several other members of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission confirmed the report on the blast in Bidgoneh, saying that it took place at an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps base.

Iran has been hit by several mysterious explosions in recent years but an Iranian lawmaker ruled out sabotage.

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