A spokesperson for the Defense Ministry said a gas explosion had occurred east of Tehran, the capital of Iran. Back in the past, the foundation was the topic of dispute.

An explosion turned the skyline east of the capital, Tehran, a bright orange for several seconds.Credit…@2_ordu, via Twitter

Iranian authorities are investigating an explosion that turned the skyline east of the capital, Tehran, a bright orange on Friday morning for several seconds, official news agencies have reported.

A spokesman for the defense ministry, Brig. Gen. Davoud Abdi, told state tv that a gas explosion had occurred in Parchin’s general area, a base for military and arms production, but there were no casualties and the fire was under control.

“Our colleagues are present on the ground and investigating the incident carefully,” General Abdi said.

Many Tehran residents and nearby suburbs posted social media pages asking whether anyone had unexpectedly seen the sky turn orange, or heard two consecutive booms.

“We suddenly saw this scene and we were all terrified,” tweeted Hamid Reza, who shared a video he shot from a northern Tehran mountaintop.

Tehran’s emergency response head told local news outlets that workers had not received any immediate ambulance or medical assistance requests but were on standby.

In the past, Parchin was the focal point of contention. For years, Iran has refused to grant inspectors’ access to visit Parchin from the International Atomic Agency, saying it was off limits as a military base. A huge explosion at Parchin in 2014 caused damage and raised questions of sabotage, but access was denied to international investigators.

“Parchin is basically the largest military explosive manufacturing site in Iran,” said Fabian Hinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif. “They produce artillery rockets there, and had tests related to nuclear weapons designs before 2003.”

By the time the International Atomic Energy Agency’s head was allowed to visit the site in 2015, it was empty, although the report from the agency indicated that the equipment had been removed.

A classified archive of the nation’s nuclear activity – which Israel said its intelligence agents stole three years later – included photographs that appeared to show a giant metal chamber designed to perform high-explosive experiments at a Parchin site.

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