Explosion hits Iran power plant

A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005. (Reuters)
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Updated 20 July 2020

Explosion hits Iran power plant

  • The blast in the Isfahan province was triggered by faulty equipment and caused no casualties, says official
  • Fire breaks out at a cellophane factory in northwest Iran

TEHRAN: An explosion hit a power plant in the central Iranian province of Isfahan Sunday, state news agency IRNA reported, saying it was triggered by faulty equipment and caused no casualties.
The blast was caused by the wear and tear of a transformer at the power plant in Islamabad, the managing director of the Isfahan electricity company told IRNA.
There have been several explosions and fires around Iranian military, nuclear and industrial facilities since late June.
A “worn-out transformer ... at Isfahan’s Islamabad thermal power plant exploded at around 5:00 a.m. today,” the managing director of the power company, Said Mohseni, told the agency.
The facility returned to normal working conditions after about two hours and Isfahan’s power supply was uninterrupted, he added.
A cellophane factory also caught fire on Sunday in the northeastern province of Eastern Azerbaijan, IRNA said.
Two firefighters suffered injuries while battling that blaze, the province’s fire brigade was quoted as saying.
The incidents are the latest in a string of fires and explosions at military and civilian sites across Iran in recent weeks.
Two explosions rocked Tehran in late June, one near a military site and the other in a health center, the latter killing 19 people.
Fires or blasts also hit a shipyard in southern Iran last week, a factory south of Tehran with two dead and the Natanz nuclear complex in central Iran earlier this month.
Iranian authorities called the Natanz fire an accident without elaborating and later said they would not reveal the cause, citing “security reasons.”
The string of fires and explosions have prompted speculation in Iran that they may be the result of sabotage by arch enemy Israel.

SPEEDREAD

There have been several explosions and fires around Iranian military, nuclear and industrial facilities since late June.

The Jewish state accuses the Islamic republic of seeking to acquire a nuclear bomb while Tehran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
Meanwhile, Iran has halted the execution of three people linked to deadly November protests sparked by a hike in petrol prices, one of the accused’s lawyers told AFP on Sunday.
“We conveyed a request (for a retrial) to the supreme court and they have accepted it. We hope the verdict will be overturned,” Babak Paknia said over the phone.
Iran’s judiciary said last week that a court had upheld the death sentence for the three.
It said evidence had been found on their phones of the three setting alight banks, buses and public buildings in November.
The three are Amirhossein Moradi, 26 and working at a cellphone retailer, Said Tamjidi, a 28-year-old student, and Mohammad Rajabi, also 26.
“We are very hopeful that the verdicts will be overturned ... considering that one of the judges at the supreme court had opposed the verdicts before,” the four lawyers representing the accused said in a statement published by state news agency IRNA.


Arrest campaign targets allies of Palestinian MP

In this Photo taken Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, the newly built Palestinian Authority's mansion, at the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP)
Updated 41 min 9 sec ago

Arrest campaign targets allies of Palestinian MP

  • The Palestinian Authority believes that Dahlan played a major role in the conclusion of the peace agreement between the UAE and Israel

GAZA CITY: Palestinian Authority security services recently began a campaign to arrest opposition activists in the West Bank.
The campaign has targeted activists in the Democratic Reform Bloc of parliament member Muhammad Dahlan, a high-profile critic of President Mahmoud Abbas.
Key members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, former security officials and university professors have been arrested. These include Haitham Al-Halabi, a member of the Revolutionary Council in the Nablus, and Maj. Gen. Salim Abu Safiya, a former security official in the Gaza Strip.
Several days ago London-based Palestinian journalist Jayab Abu Safiya published pictures from the home of his uncle, Maj. Gen. Abu Safiya, showing security personnel tampering with property.
Abu Safiya’s family said in a statement that at 2 a.m. security services arbitrarily arrested him. Abu Safiya was a former prisoner in an Israeli jail and a founder of the Preventive Security Service.
A court released him after seven days’ detention on Monday, while Haitham Al-Halabi’s sentence was extended by 15 days amid ongoing investigations.
An official source in the Palestinian Public Prosecution office in Ramallah told Arab News that the prisoners are facing two main charges related to possession of weapons and transfer of illegal funds to the West Bank.
However, a leading source in the Fatah, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the arrests were based on direct instructions from President Abbas to the Joint Security Committee to take strict measures against Dahlan supporters.
The Palestinian Authority believes that Dahlan played a major role in the conclusion of the peace agreement between the UAE and Israel.
Dahlan has resided in the UAE after a dispute with President Abbas forced him to leave the West Bank. He sought refuge there after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

BACKGROUND

An official source in the Palestinian Public Prosecution office in Ramallah told Arab News that the prisoners are facing two main charges related to possession of weapons and transfer of illegal funds to the West Bank.

Since then, Dahlan, 58, who enjoys strong international and regional ties, has been widely reported as a potential successor to Abbas, 84.
Spokesman for the security forces in the West Bank Maj. Gen. Adnan Al-Dameiri denied that the arrests were political. “The security services arrested 4 or 5 people only on the basis of legal violations,” he said.
The arrest campaign coincided with statements by US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, in which he told Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom that the US was considering replacing President Abbas with Dahlan. The newspaper later retracted the statement.
A Fatah source told Arab News that the claim angered President Abbas and his team, after Friedman also claimed Dahlan played a “significant” role in UAE-Israel agreement.
Spokesman for the Democratic Reform Bloc and member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council Dimitri Diliani told Arab News that Dahlan preceded Abbas in rejecting the statements of the US ambassador. He added that Dahlan also rejected the Israel deal through an official statement issued from Abu Dhabi.
Diliani rejected accusations directed at the prisoners and said they have “no relationship or connection with money, or the current financing methods in the West Bank.”
He said there is a “separate structure” for money and financing, and that the method of delivering money to the West Bank is carried out in strict secrecy.
“Abbas and the group of beneficiaries surrounding him fear the power of the Dahlan bloc, which today has become a majority inside Fatah at home and abroad,” he added.

Highlight An official source in the Palestinian Public Prosecution office in Ramallah told Arab News that the prisoners are facing two main charges related to possession of weapons and transfer of illegal funds to the West Bank.