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Loud blasts heard in western Iran caused by lightning, not military attack: Report

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Loud blasts heard in several parts of western Iran on early Sunday were caused by lightning, not foreign military attacks, a semi-official Iranian news agency reported on Sunday citing a military source.

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Loud blasts were heard in at least four of Iran’s western provinces – Hamadan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah and Ilam – at around midnight local time on Sunday, according to Iranian state media and social media posts.

The main source of the blasts in western Iran was lightning, the semi-official Tasnim news agency cited an “informed source” in the Iranian armed forces as saying.

“The official also denied some speculations online that attributed the noises heard to sabotage and foreign attacks,” Tasnim said.

The report by Tasnim came hours after a local governor in Hamadan province ruled out that the blasts were caused by lighting.

“Initially it was thought it was the sound of thunderstorms due to the weather conditions, but this possibility was ruled out,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Saeed Ketabi, governor of the city of Asadabad, as saying.

Iranian authorities had recently attributed several similar incidents to unannounced military drills amid heightened tensions with Israel and the US over Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel has warned it would use force should diplomacy fail to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

The US and Iran are currently engaged in indirect talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Washington withdrew from in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, reimposing sweeping sanctions on Tehran.

Iran has since started enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity – a big step closer to the 90 percent that is weapons-grade material.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran limited its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

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