Man killed in ‘industrial accident’ at Iran’s Parchin military facility

One man was killed and another was injured at Iran’s Parchin military compound on Wednesday night, in what the country’s Tasnim news agency called an “industrial accident”.

Parchin, located south of Tehran, has been linked to Iran’s missile production and nuclear research work. It has been the site of a number of mysterious explosions in the past, which some say were engineered by Iran’s enemies.

Tasnim only said the explosion happened at a factory on the site.

The Parchin compound, southeast of Tehran, is believed to have hosted tests of conventional explosives in the past that could be used to detonate a nuclear warhead, which Iran has repeatedly denied.

The site came under renewed scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2015 when Tehran struck a landmark deal with major powers under which it agreed to limit its nuclear activities under the supervision of the United Nations in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran had previously denied the IAEA access to Parchin, insisting it was a military site unrelated to any nuclear activity, but the agency’s then chief, the late Yukiya Amano, paid a visit.

In June 2020, a petrol tank explosion in a “public area” near the complex rocked the capital, 30 kilometers (20 miles) away, but caused no casualties, the then said. Department of Defense.

Iran’s nuclear program has been the target of a campaign of sabotage, cyberattacks and assassinations of key scientists that it has blamed on Israel’s sworn enemy.

Other explosions and fires occurred in Parchin in 2014 and 2007.

The latest incident comes days after a senior member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps was shot dead by two gunmen on a motorbike in the middle of Tehran.

Sunday’s assassination of Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei bore hallmarks of previous deadly attacks in Iran blamed on Israel, such as those targeting the country’s nuclear scientists.

Mourners gather around the coffin of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Colonel Sayyad Khodaei during a funeral procession in the capital Tehran’s Imam Hussein Square on May 24, 2022. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Hebrew and Iranian media reports said Khodaei planned kidnappings and other attempts to attack Israeli and Jewish targets around the world and was responsible for recruiting drug traffickers and other criminal entities to carry out the attacks.

On Wednesday, an unnamed intelligence official told the New York Times that Israel had told US officials it was behind the assassination, in a bid to warn Tehran against continuing the work of an alleged secret unit that he helped lead.

Two people affiliated with the IRGC told The Times that Khodaei played a key role in transporting drone and missile technology to Iran-backed militias in Syria and to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. He was also a tactical adviser to Syria-based militias.

Israel, which has made no official comment on the incident, reportedly raised the security alert level at its embassies and consulates around the world, fearing a retaliatory Iranian attack.

AFP contributed to this report.

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