Three massive gas pipelines exploded April 8 at Iran’s principal energy hub, showing the regime’s increased vulnerability and the growing militancy of some in the opposition.
Regime figures ascribe the explosions to “sabotage.” The statement is the first of its kind about the causes of a series of unexplained failures of, and attacks on, Iran’s energy infrastructure. Previous official reports have been non-specific, as if to understate the problem.
Civilian opponents of the regime are concerned that Islamic Republic authorities will use the explosions as a pretext for cracking down on the nonviolent democratic movement.
Parvis Sorouri, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Majlis “parliament,” says the explosions occurred near the town of Delijan in Qom province. The blasts that ruptured the 56-inch pipelines, which Sorouri ascribed to “terrorism,” have prompted the regime to re-examine the security of its pipeline system, the Tehran Times reports.
Officials said that the pipelines were repaired within a day. However, these reports are doubtful at best. In its report on the repairs, the Press TV propaganda agency used a photo of two workers welding a section of underground pipe, but the pipe is much smaller than 56 inches (142 centimeters) in diameter. The exploded pipelines were aboveground.
Similar simultaneous explosions occurred in the same area on February 11, according to the Associated Press and Business Week. At that time, authorities said the blasts were not due to technical failure, but nobody mentioned sabotage.
The Majlis is also investigating the disappearance of $11 billion in cash from Iranian state oil exports over the past nine months, part of the official high-level corruption that is destroying the economy.