TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Tehran Fire Department officials said the recent attack on one of the city's oldest movie theaters had been carried out deliberately.
"The comprehensive investigation carried out by fire department experts has revealed that the fire at Cinema Jomhouri was deliberate," Tehran Fire Chief Mohammad-Reza Hajji-Beigi said in comments posted on the department's website on Sunday.
According to press tv Tehran Fire Department put damages caused by the incident at around 25 to 30 thousand US dollars.
While the fire chief refrained from elaborating on the details of the incident, he did refer reporters to judicial and insurance officials, who are expected to receive a full report from the department in the coming days.
The fire department's announcement comes amid growing speculations that that the incident may have been politically motivated, according to a Monday article published by Iranian daily Sarmayeh.
"There are three rumors surrounding the incident. Some attribute the attack to Leila Hatami's support for (former president Mohammad) Khatami. Others, however, say that the owners of the cinema had set the building on fire to collect insurance benefits," reported the paper.
"The third theory is that the attack, neither politically-motivated nor planned by the owners, was carried out by a third party that had a personal grudge against the owners," it added.
Leila Hatami, a prominent Iranian actress and a chief movie theater stakeholder, recently took part in a gathering in Tehran, which was held by a group of political activists calling on Khatami to run in the country's upcoming presidential elections.
Cinema Jomhouri is a historic cultural center situated in the heart of the Iranian capital of Tehran.
The cinema, initially called Niagara, was first opened by deceased actor Mohammad-Ali Fardin and later purchased by Leila Hatami's father -- writer and director Ali Hatami -- who passed away in 1995.
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