Iran gas pipeline blast caused by 'terrorist attacks', authorities say

Emergency services say explosion near Borujen city ruptured the country's main gas transmission line

Massive explosion occurs at gas pipeline in Iran

Massive explosion occurs at gas pipeline in Iran
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A huge explosion ruptured a gas pipeline near Borujen city, in Iran's Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, in the early hours of Wednesday, with images on social media showing an inferno lighting up the night sky.

Iran's Gas Management Centre said the explosion was caused by “terrorist attacks”, state-linked Irna reported.

The semi-official Mehr news agency said authorities were still investigating the cause of the blast at the “high-pressure” pipeline, although no casualties were reported.

Ismail Yazdani, the head of emergency services in Borujen, said the explosion had ruptured the country's main gas transmission line.

Iran produces about a billion cubic metres of gas a day and has some of the largest proven reserves in the world, at about 30 trillion cubic metres, as well as a large network of pipelines also used to export gas to Iraq and Turkey.

A branch of the Iran Gas Trunk Line, also known as Igat, runs near the site of the blast, but there was no word on whether it had been damaged.

Industrial accidents in Iran are common, with decades of sanctions and mismanagement having left much of the country's infrastructure in a state of disrepair.

At the same time, Israel has been widely blamed by Tehran for a campaign of sabotage that has destroyed or damaged factories and military installations, particularly those linked to weapons development and Iran's nuclear programme.

While gas pipeline ruptures in Iran are not uncommon, with subsidence, earthquakes and accidents during maintenance often the cause, there is evidence of sabotage in the past. In 2011 for example, four gas pipelines in Qom province exploded simultaneously.

Iran often releases statements blaming Israeli secret services for the industrial sabotage, but the theocratic regime also faces a range of domestic threats, from Baloch separatists to ISIS in the south and centre of the country, and Kurdish groups in the north, who have also targeted pipelines.

In 2014, two men from the oil rich province of Khuzestan, which has a large Arab minority, were executed after being blamed for a gas pipeline attack. Tehran said the men were separatist terrorists, but local authorities said the pipeline rupture was an accident.

Updated: February 14, 2024, 10:46 AM