A major explosion outside Tehran has triggered speculation of an attack against an army base or a research site, but the Iranian military says it was an incident at a gas storage facility.
The blast did not take place at a military site, but in the “public area” nearby, defense ministry spokesman Davoud Abdi told state TV late Thursday night, adding that the blaze was quickly brought under control and that there were no casualties.
Massive explosion east of #Tehran in an area that looks like full of research facilities! The explosion is massive and the brightness of the aftermath indicate a major incident! pic.twitter.com/oWgvRBNQpC
— Aimen Dean (@AimenDean) June 25, 2020
According to a number of reports in state and semi-official media – citing both Abdi and the public relations manager of Tehran’s emergency management, Mir Shahabuddin Ghavami – no emergency services or ambulances were requested in the area following the blast.
#Tehran Medical Emergency Center: There has been no call for ambulances following explosion in Parchin in eastern Tehran. #Iran Defense Ministry Spox Abdi told state TV there has been no casualties in the incident and the situation is under control. pic.twitter.com/rOqm7eoTnw
— Press TV (@PressTV) June 25, 2020
For hours, details of the incident remained a mystery, fueling speculation and conspiracy theories, as Iranian TV reported only that the authorities were “investigating the bright light and loud sound” near Tehran.
Rumors initially suggested the explosion took place at a power station in Sarkh Hasar, east of Tehran, and that similar explosions had taken place in Shiraz, in southern Iran, prompting further speculation of a cyber attack.
— Joe Truzman (@Jtruzmah) June 25, 2020
Others suggested an explosion at an ammunition depot in Paradis, citing Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) chatter on the messaging app Telegram.
A violent explosion rocked the Iranian capital, #Tehran. Activists talk about targeting a military site of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, east of the city.#Iran #IRGC #Israel #IDF #IAF #Iraq #USA pic.twitter.com/Vr3vg5Tc9t
— Eva J. Koulouriotis – إيفا كولوريوتي (@evacool_) June 25, 2020
New York Times journalist Farnaz Fassihi cited reports that the explosion occurred in Parchin, “a military base where Iran has conducted nuclear activity.”
They posted this locator map: pic.twitter.com/NVPV7ktBHJ
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) June 25, 2020
Another clip shows a fireball briefly turning the night sky red.
BREAKING: There are videos circulating of what appears to be an explosion in Pardis, south Tehran, tonight. This video, I think, was shot in Bame Tehran, north of the city. You can clearly see what appears to be a fireball that turns the sky red
— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) June 25, 2020
A video shared by researcher Babak Taghvaee includes coordinates of a location in Paradis, where the explosion was filmed.
— Babak Taghvaee – Μπάπακ Τακβαίε – بابک تقوایی (@BabakTaghvaee) June 25, 2020
Others have said the blast was at Khojir, not Parchin, pointing to a missile production and testing facility there as the possible culprit.
— Fabian Hinz (@fab_hinz) June 25, 2020
The explosion was heard around 2am local time, just half an hour after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted about new US sanctions against Iran.
Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime continues. Today, we are sanctioning nine entities for their connections to Iran’s metals sector. Iran’s leaders must stop squandering resources to support proxies abroad while Iranians suffer.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 25, 2020