International

At least 18 dead in Tehran clinic explosion

(Tehran) Eighteen people died Tuesday night in a powerful explosion in a clinic in northern Tehran, the semi-official news agency Isna reported, citing emergency medical services.

France Media Agency

The explosion, which took place at the Sina Athar health center, also caused damage to surrounding buildings and sent a plume of thick black smoke into the sky, state television reported.

“An explosion was reported at 20 h 56 (16 h 26 GMT) followed by a fire at the Sina Athar clinic » , said the rescue in a statement.

“The death of 13 people has been confirmed and six others were also injured and transferred to a hospital”, they added, before reporting later on a new assessment of 18 dead.

Fifteen of them were women according to state television.

Tehran fire department spokesman Jalal Maleki said on state television that the explosion occurred when gas cylinders caught fire in the basement of the clinic.

Some of the victims “were on the upper floors […] they were either patients or people accompanying them,” he said.

“They unfortunately lost their lives because of the heat and the thick smoke,” he said.

The fire was brought under control later, according to the emergency services.

Another explosion had shaken the Iranian capital during the night from Thursday to Friday.

A gas tank exploded in south-eastern Tehran, in the Parchin sector, near a military site inspected in 2015 by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to the Iranian Ministry of Defense.

The explosion was caused by the leaking of gas tanks, authorities said.

The Parchin site was inspected by the IAEA before the signing of an international nuclear agreement in 2015.

The place was in particular suspected of having housed conventional explosion tests applicable to nuclear power, which the Islamic Republic then denied.

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