Blast during Ahmadinejad refinery visit

Two killed, according to state media, in suspected gas explosion during visit to oil refinery by Iranian president.

    At least two people have been killed in an explosion and fire at an Iranian oil refinery during a visit by the country's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to state media reports.

    The Mehr news agency said Ahmadinejad was unhurt by the explosion, which reports said was due to a gas leak.

    "Currently the control of the fire and the rescue operation has been completed and the investigation of the blast has commenced," Mehr said.

    The incident, according to the Fars news agency, also injured 22 people and occured at a refinery in Abadan, in the country's southwest on Tuesday.

    Ahmadinejad was at the refinery to inaugurate a unit that will increase Iran's petrol production capacity by an extra 4.2 million litres a day.

    State media also reported that Ahmadinejad ordered a special plane to airlift those injured to the capital, Tehran.

    'Black smoke'

    A local resident in Abadan told the Associated Press news agency that he saw ambulances and rescue teams rush to the site shortly after the explosion.

    He also said that residents had noticed black smoke coming from the refinery in the past few days, which he speculated could have been from a fire.

    During his speech shown on state television from Abadan, Ahmadinejad appeared unperturbed, telling local officials that Iran was today able to meet all its domestic oil needs.

    Iran has launched expansion projects at refineries to stave off damage from sanctions, imposed by the West on fuel sales to Iran over the country's controversial nuclear programme.

    Western powers suspect Iran is pursuing nuclear arms, a charge the government has denied. It says its nuclear programme is aimed for peaceful energy production.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.