An explosion at Iran's Parchin nuclear plant has killed at least two people, among them an unnamed "nuclear expert", according to Iranian media reports.
Reports on the explosion that took place in or near the Parchin nuclear plant outside Tehran may have been due to a technical issue, a report said. The report said that two people had died, although that could not be confirmed. The Iranian government has made no statement on the matter, and nearly all reports in the incident are based on reports from sites outside of Iran, most of them run by anti-government groups outside the country.
In the first official comment on the incident, official Iranian sources said that there had been an “incident,” but not an explosion, at the Parchin plant. Two people are classified as “missing.” The sources added that there was no nuclear work being done at Parchin.
The semi-official Isna news agency claimed the explosion took place at around 10:00 a.m. after a fire erupted in an "explosive materials production unit".
"Unfortunately, due to the incident, two workers of this production unit lost their lives," the site reported. Other Iranian outlets cited witnesses who said a "loud explosion" could be heard several kilometers away.
The opposition Sahamnews outlet claimed the blast was so powerful it shattered windows some 15 kilometers away from the site, raising the possibility that a far more destructive explosion had taken place than official outlets are letting on.
Iran has refused to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to access Parchin since 2005, and both opposition figures and others have accused the regime of using the site to house an illegal nuclear weapons program.
Last month, Israel's Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said he had "reliable information" that Parchin was being used for secret tests of technology that could be used only for detonating a nuclear weapon.
The latest development comes as talks between Iran and world powers remain deadlocked over Iran's illegal nuclear program, as a November 24 deadline for a permanent deal.