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Iran: Blast hits Abadan refinery during Ahmadinejad's visit

Source: Mehr News Agency

ABADAN - A deadly blast occurred on Tuesday morning at Abadan refinery while the inauguration ceremony of the first phase of a gasoline production unit with the presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in progress.

Ahmadinejad (center) at Abadan refinery

According to the latest reports, the blast killed two people and injured 12. The president, government officials, and reporters were not hurt.

The firefighters immediately put out the fire, and the injured were transferred to a hospital in Abadan, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

Reportedly, the leakage of gas in one of the refinery's units caused the blast.

The unit, scheduled to produce the best ever quality gasoline with the octane number of 94, is projected to produce 4.2 million liters of gasoline per day.

The project has been hailed as one the greatest ever gasoline production plans.

Blast was not sabotage

Hamidreza Katuzian, the head of the Majlis Energy Committee, has rejected speculations about a premeditated act of sabotage, saying he had warned about a possible occurrence of such an accident.

"The blast was not an act of sabotage or a premeditated action, and occurred because the refinery was not adequately prepared for the launch of the new unit," he told reporters on Tuesday.

The lawmaker also said that he had previously warned the directors of the refinery that a blast may occur if the unit is launched without making adequate preparations.

MP Ali Mousavi, who represents Abadan in the Majlis, also told reporters that experts had previously conducted several tests and predicted that a blast may occur after launching the unit. He said that the inauguration ceremony should be postponed so that the problems would be fixed.

... Payvand News - 05/24/11 ... --

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