Major Gas Pipeline Explosion In Iran Deemed 'Terrorist Sabotage'

In the overnight hours reports emerged of two explosions along Iran's main south-north gas pipeline network. At least one of the massive fires that resulted was caught on video, which widely circulated, leading to speculation over whether it was an accident or attack.

Iran's Oil Minister Javad Owji later in the day said the blasts were caused by sabotage, but did not name any suspects or possible external entity responsible. He also called it a "terrorist act".

Via Iran International

"This terrorist act of sabotage occurred at 1 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning (2130 GMT Tuesday evening) in the network of national gas transmission pipelines in two regions of the country," Owji said.

He described that area settlements had suffered gas outages, but there were no mention of casualties as a result of the pipeline blasts which occurred in central Iran, near the city of Borujen.

According to Deutsche Welle, "Owji pointed to a similar incident in 2011, which he called an act of sabotage, that temporarily cut gas to four different regions of the country." And according to more details of the fallout:

Fars News Agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, reported early Thursday that the targeted pipeline is the main conduit for transporting natural gas from refineries in the Persian Gulf to major cities including Tehran, Esfahan, and Mashhad.

These explosions resulted in the closure of roads in the surrounding areas for hours, forcing residents of neighboring villages to spend hours on the streets due to fear as large flames engulfed the surrounding areas. Reports indicate that the sound of explosions and the glow of flames were visible within a radius of 60 kilometers, leading to the gas supply being cut off to dozens of villages.

Videos of the aftermath showed flames expanding high into the air...

"A subsequent fire occurred following the blast, according to the Borujen governor. The firefighters and rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the scene of the incident. Sources report that the incident left no casualties," Iranian news outlet Mehr reported. 

Hours after the reports first emerged, an official cited in IRNA said the fires had been put out and the country's gas network successfully stabilized.

As for possible culprits, naturally at this tense moment of major conflict centered on Gaza, Israeli intelligence is a prime suspect. There are also armed Iranian opposition groups, such as the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), or else Sunni jihadi groups from the border areas, which have committed such attacks in the past.

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