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Deadly explosion in Tehran: four people interviewed

Tehran (AFP) - Iranian police "interrogate four people" on Wednesday as part of an investigation into the powerful explosion that killed 19 people Tuesday night in a Tehran clinic, according to the state television's official website.

"The police are interrogating four people and investigating them," wrote Iribnews, the public service broadcasting website, citing General Hamid Hadavand, deputy chief of police in the capital.

Among these people are the director general of the Athar Sina clinic and three other officials of this health center in northern Tehran, destroyed Tuesday evening by a violent explosion.

According to Tehran's forensic medicine, 17 of the 19 victims (including 15 women) were healthcare workers and the other two were patients.

Cited on Wednesday by the Fars agency, General Hossein Rahimi, Tehran's police chief, denied that the accident could have been caused following a "sabotage".

"These are rumors," said the officer, adding that the tragedy was the result of a "fire (having declared itself) in this private health center".

The origin of the incident remains to be determined, however, and President Hassan Rohani, in a message of condolence to the families of the victims, asked the "authorities concerned" to shed light on "the cause of the accident".

Tehran fire department spokesman Jalal Maleki said the explosion, which damaged nearby buildings, occurred when the fire struck gas cylinders stored in the clinic's basement.

- "Trapped by smoke" -

Late Wednesday morning, the police were still preventing access to the lane where the building is located and several firefighters were inspecting the entrance to the building where twenty or so drilled and charred cylinders were stacked, resembling oxygen tanks for medical use, noted AFP journalists.

Posted Date: 2020-07-04

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