An explosion hit western Tehran early Friday, state media reported, causing extensive power outages in two irritating Iranian and residential areas, triggering an early morning explosion for the third consecutive week.
The exact location of Friday’s blast was unclear, but analysts said there are several military and training facilities in the area that could be sabotaged. A cause was not immediately determined.
“There are two underground facilities, a chemical weapons research site and an unidentified military production site,” said Fabian Hinz, an Iranian military expert and associate researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
It was the third major explosion that occurred in Iran between midnight and three in the morning, for three consecutive weeks. The first two explosions took place at the main military and nuclear bases – in Khojir, home to the country’s largest missile production facility; and at the Natanz nuclear base, in a building that housed the centrifuge assembly.
Iran described the Khojir episode as a gas tank explosion. Independent analysts said it was not clear whether the cause was an accident, sabotage or something else, although they noted that Iran had initially given a misleading location.
Iran has not publicly released the results of its investigation into the Natanz explosion, citing national security concerns.
But a Middle East intelligence officer with knowledge of the episode said Israel was responsible for the attack on the Natanz nuclear complex, using a powerful bomb. A member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who was briefed on the matter also said that an explosive was used.
The series of explosions irritates Iranians amid the pandemic of coronavirus, a currency in free fall and economic difficulties.
“Explosion after explosion? How many security holes do you have? an Iranian asked on Twitter.