A massive blast at a missile base operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps nearly three weeks ago was the latest in a series of mysterious incidents involving explosions at natural gas transport facilities, oil refineries and military bases — blasts that have caused dozens of deaths and damage to key infrastructure in the past two years.
Iranian officials said the November 12 blast at the missile base was an “accident,” and they ruled out any sabotage organised by the United States and its regional allies.
Despite the official denial of foreign involvement in the latest blast, suspicions have been raised in Iran by what industry experts say is a fivefold increase in explosions at refineries and gas pipelines since 2010.
Explaining the increased number of industrial incidents is proving to be a predicament for Iranian leaders, who do not want to appear vulnerable at a time when Israeli leaders have been debating military intervention against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.
Officials have blamed industrial accidents for most the blasts, saying they were caused by such deficiencies as “bad welding” or “substandard manufacturing.” But media restrictions and the lack of independent investigations have made it hard to verify the claims.
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