Iran officials: Israel not behind deadly military base explosion
Iran parliament speaker Ali Larijani denies press speculation about Israeli involvement in blast near Tehran that killed high-ranking Revolutionary Guard commander, calling it 'fiction.'
Iran on Wednesday denied press speculation that Israel was behind the explosion at a military base near Tehran which killed 17 members of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
"Whatever the enemies say about the IRGC base incident is fiction and therefore not important," Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani told Fars news agency.
Time Magazine quoted a Western intelligence official speculating that Israel was behind Saturday's blast in the ammunition depot at Malard and Shahriar base, west of Tehran.
Media reports focused on General Hassan Moqaddam, a high-ranking IRGC commander and chief of the logistic research unit, who was killed in the blast.
Moqaddam was involved in Iran's missile program.
A number of senior Iranian officials, including Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, attended Moqaddam's funeral. In an unusual move, pictures from the funeral were broadcast on Iranian television.
The Shahab-3 and Zelzal missiles reportedly have sufficient range to reach any part of Israel. Iran has several times warned that if its nuclear sites were attacked by Israel, the missiles would be used against Israel.
While praising Moqaddam as "one of the shining members of the IRGC," speaker Larijani said that "there are tens of thousands who would continue the way of martyr Moqaddam."
Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, also on Wednesday denied that Israel was involved in the blast.
"This recent incident and blast has no link to Israel or America but the outcome of the research, of which the incident happened as a consequence, could be a strong smack to the mouth of Israel and its occupying regime," Firouzabadi was quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA.