Iran was rocked by several blasts in separate locations, as tensions continued to mount in the region. The first, at a gas storage unit near a military site in Parchin, occurred last Friday. No casualties were reported.
The second explosion took place on Tuesday, at a medical clinic in North Tehran, which officials said was triggered by a gas leak. Ten women and three men died, and several were injured by the blast.
The third incident involved a fire, which broke out on Thursday, at Iran’s Nantaz nuclear facility. A shed was partially damaged in the fire but no casualties were recorded by officials.
Some experts have suggested the blasts could have been acts of sabotage, as Iran comes under pressure by the U.S. to allow the UN’s nuclear watchdog to enter a nuclear facility suspected by Israel and the U.S. of developing nuclear weapons in the 2000s. The Trump Administration has also asked the UN to extend an arms embargo on Iran indefinitely, before it comes to an end in October.
Four individuals were sentenced to death by Iran’s judiciary for their roles in the November 2019 protests. Ruhollah Zam, a journalist and activist who headed up Amadnews with more than 1 million followers on social media, was charged with “corruption on Earth,” after officials accused Zam of inciting violence during the demonstrations.
Amir-Hossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi were also given the death penalty. The men were charged in connection with arson offenses which took place during the demonstrations. Amnesty International said the men had been denied legal representation and had been forced into giving confessions on state TV.
More protests in Iran erupted this week, as workers demanded better working conditions and pay. At least 10 rallies took place, across several of Iran’s provinces, supported by the country’s trade unions. Employees working at the Oil and Communications Ministries gave officials one month to address their concerns. Workers at the Haft Tappeh sugar plant, ten of whom had been arrested and placed on trial last year for earlier protests, took to the streets again to call out poor working conditions and lack of pay.
And Washington launched a lawsuit to seize petroleum in 4 Iranian vessels bound for Venezuela. The suit, which says the ships engaged in tanker-to-tanker transfers to evade sanctions, asks for the seizure of more than 1.1 million barrels of petroleum held across the 4 ships.