By Staff Reporter
- Massive blast reported at suspected Iranian nuke facility
- Two reportedly killed in explosion that shatters windows kilometers away from secretive Parchin site
- Reports suggest Iran has denied IAEA inspectors access to assess damages to the site.
- It is not clear if this was an outside attack or fire accident
The Defense Industries Organisation, quoted by IRNA, said the fire broke out at the plant on Sunday night but it gave no further details.
The BBC, citing a report from the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on Monday that the incident happened in an “explosive materials production unit” at the site that is south-east of the capital Tehran.
According to ISNA the blast was so powerful it shattered windows up to 12 kilometers away and the glare from the explosion lit up the night sky.
Several arms facilities and military bases are located east of the Iranian capital, including Parchin which UN nuclear inspectors have been seeking to visit to answer concerns about Iran’s atomic programme.
The base lies at the centre of allegations of past Iranian research into sophisticated explosives that can be used to detonate a nuclear warhead.
Tehran, which has denied inspectors access to Parchin since 2005, insists its nuclear programme is for purely civilian uses.
In August Iran reiterated that it will not allow IAEA inspectors to visit the site.
Nuclear experts from the IAEA were due to hold talks Tuesday in Tehran to try and resolve outstanding issues regarding Iran’s disputed atomic program.
IAEA inspectors have been given access to a string of declared nuclear sites as part of an interim nuclear deal reached with the major powers last November. Access to Parchin was not agreed under the terms of that accord but the IAEA has been seeking to visit the base as part of its mission to answer all concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, past and present.