Iran: Deadly “blast” at refinery ahead of Ahmadinejad’s visit

The semi-official Fars news agency reported that an explosion blamed caused a fire at the south-western Abadan oil refinery during a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday.Two persons were killed and at least 20 injured in the incident, but the president was not hurt and appeared live on state television giving a scheduled speech to mark the inauguration of a new phase of the refinery.

Although local media claimed that the explosion was caused by a technical problem, it is worth mentioning that an “arm wrestling” between the country’s 2 main leaders : President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ali Khamenei triggered violent clashed in Tehran in the past weeks. As ESISC reported previously, supporters of Ali Khamenei and local media accused the Iranian President for questioning the authority of the Supreme Leader, spiritual chief and the highest authority of the country.

Therefore, it cannot completely be ruled out that the incident was caused by a violent incident, especially given the high symbolic value of the Abadan refinery.  Morover, it should be recalled that previous visits of the Iranian president were allegedly disturbed by similar incidents in the past. In August last year,  authorities had to denied that an explosive device had been thrown at his convoy near the city ofHamedan, highlighting the rising tensions at the top of Iran’s power structure.