Iran explosion at Revolutionary Guards military base

A local resident said the sound of the blast was "deafening"

 Plume of smoke after the explosion

Seventeen soldiers have been killed in an explosion at a military base near Iran’s capital Tehran, officials (các viên chức) say.

The blast occurred when weapons were being moved inside a Revolutionary Guards depot, a spokesman for the elite unit told state TV.

Windows in nearby buildings were shattered and the blast was heard in central Tehran, 40 km (25 miles) away.

Two hours after the explosion a fire still raged (vẫn còn dữ dội) and there were traffic jams on nearby roads, a local reporter said.

The death toll was revised down (điều chỉnh lại) from an earlier figure released by the Revolutionary Guards of 27.

Local MP Hossein Garousi said "a large part of an ammunition depot (kho vũ khí) exploded," parliament’s website reported.

Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif did not say what had caused the "accident" in the village of Bidganeh, near the city of Karaj.

"Some of the casualties (thương vong) are reported to be in a critical (nguy kịch) condition," he said.

An emergency worker said that 12 people had been taken to hospital (nhập viện)

Karaj resident Kaveer told the BBC’s Newshour programme that the sound was "deafening".

"We were kind of shocked. I just ran out of the house and looked around," he said.

Economic force

An elite military force, the Revolutionary Guard was set up shortly after the 1979 Iranian revolution to defend the country’s Islamic system.

map

It has since become a major military, political and economic force in Iran.

The Revolutionary Guard has been targeted (là mục tiêu nhắm đến) by UN sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to halt (ngăn chặn) uranium enrichment (làm giàu uranium)

There have been occasional unexplained (thỉnh thoảng xảy ra nhưng không được giải thích) explosions in Iran before.

Eighteen people were killed in a blast at a Revolutionary Guards base in the north-western Lorestan province in October 2010.

The latest blast comes at a time of heightened tensions (căng thẳng dâng cao) over Iran’s nuclear ambitions  (thất vọng hạt nhân).

The UN’s nuclear watchdog (cơ quan theo dõi) the IAEA released a report (đưa ra báo cáo) on Tuesday which, correspondents say, prompted new fears  that (làm dấy nên những lo ngại rằng) Iran’s nuclear programme has a military objective (mục đích quân sự)

There has also been speculation (đồn đoán) in Israel’s media that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering ordering strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites, in the hope of stalling  (làm ngưng trệ) or ending its programme.

Iran says its nuclear programme has purely civilian aims (mục đích dân sự).


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