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Sabotage Suspected in Iran Gas Pipeline Explosion

Natural gas pipeline explodes near southwestern Iranian city, with no reported casualties.

Iran's oil minister suggests the blast was the result of sabotage.

Tensions escalate in the region amid accusations and counter-accusations between Iran and other countries.

A natural gas pipeline has exploded near a city in southwestern Iran, state news outlet Mehr reported, adding there were no reported casualties of the blast.

A later report from Reuters cited Iran’s oil minister as saying the blast – and another one on the same pipeline – were the result of sabotage.

Earlier in the day, The National cited the Iranian news agency as saying the authorities were investigating the blast and had not made any comments about whether the blast may have been an act of deliberate sabotage.

The Emirati publication’s report noted accusations leveled by Tehran at Tel Aviv for sabotage on Iranian factories and military installations.

Iran has recently become the indirect target of U.S. strikes in Iraq and Syria, plus Yemen. The Syria and Iraq strikes came in response to attacks on U.S. military targets in the region from what U.S. officials say are Iran-backed groups. The strikes on Yemen soil are retaliation for Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

Last week, Iran notched up the rhetoric warning the U.S. against targeting an Iranian ship patrolling the Red Sea that U.S. officials say is used to collect intelligence to enable Houthi attacks on vessels there.

“Those engaging in terrorist activities against the MV Behshad or similar vessels, jeopardize international maritime routes, security and assume global responsibility for potential future international risks,” the Iranian armed forces said in a video message on Telegram, as quoted by NBC News.


Commenting on the situation for NBC News, military analyst Michael Knights from a pro-Israeli think tank said that “The ships pretend to be anti-piracy garrison ships that Iranian and Syrian shipping can visit, but actually they are transshipment points for Iranian weapons."

Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria have carried out more than 180 attacks on U.S. military targets in the Middle East, the Financial Times reported earlier this month, adding that Iran has insisted it has no plans for direct confrontation with either Israel or the United States.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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