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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Brigadier General killed in major Iran blast

From YNet:
More details emerging following explosion near Tehran: A senior officer in Iran's weapons industry was killed in Saturday's blast outside Tehran, officials in the country said.

The officer, identified as Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam, held a rank parallel to brigadier general in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, the Fars news agency said. He reportedly served as a researcher at a Tehran university and headed the "Jihad Self-Reliance" unit, mostly tasked with developing arms and missiles following the embargo imposed on Iran since 1979.

Saturday's blast killed at least 17 people and wounded 16 others, some of them gravely.

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."

Although Iranian reports did not refer to the possibility that the base was struck from the air, some assessments indicate that the explosion may have been the result of a military operation based on intelligence information.
WaPo adds:
The blast followed a sharp increase in recent years in explosions at industrial sites, key gas pipelines and Revolutionary Guard bases, which some here attribute to sabotage by the United States.

In October 2010, 18 servicemen were killed in an explosion at an ammunition depot on a Guard Corps base near the western city of Khorramabad.

In May, a blast at an oil refinery during a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad killed four people.
Either Iran's military procedures are embarrassingly sloppy, or there has been some very effective sabotage going on.