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Firefighters battle massive fire at Iranian oil refinery

TASNIM NEWS/AFP via Getty Images

A huge blaze broke out at an Iranian oil refinery south of Tehran on Wednesday, a spokesman for Iran’s emergency department said, according to state media. At least 11 people have been injured.

The head of Tehran’s Provincial Crisis Management Office, Mansour Darajati, said that “a leak at a liquid gas pipeline at the facility sparked the fire,” Reuters reported.

Gholamreza Nouferesti, the local public prosecutor, visited the refinery on Thursday and has ordered a judiciary investigation into the incident, according to the semi-official KhabarOnline website.

Shaker Khafaei, the head of public relations of Tehran Oil Refining Co., which runs the refinery, told state news agency IRINN that he did not believe sabotage to be the cause of the fire.

Videos posted on social media Wednesday showed thick smoke circulating in the southern areas of the Iranian capital.

Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said all operations had been suspended at the facility, known as the Tondgooyan refinery, Reuters reported.

Some 18 tankers of the refinery caught fire on Wednesday, according to state-run Young Journalists Club (YJC) agency.

By Thursday, the fires had subsidized considerably, according to Hamed Armanfar, the refinery’s CEO. Armanfar told state media IRIN that the “volume of fires has decreased a lot compared to before, and now only five percent of the initial fires remain,” adding that the fire brigades’ efforts had successfully prevented the blaze from spreading to other tanks.

This incident came just hours after one of the largest vessels in the Iranian navy caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday.

The “Khark,” a huge training and logistical ship, set alight early on Wednesday morning, according to the country’s semi-official Fars News Agency. But after 20 hours of an “all-out” rescue effort, the ship sank off the southern Iranian port of Jask, Fars said in its report.

All crew members were evacuated and there were no casualties, it added.

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