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A huge fire has broken out at the Tondgooyan Petrochemical Co....

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  • A huge fire has broken out at the Tondgooyan Petrochemical Co. in south Tehran

  • Officials blamed blaze on a leak in a liquefied gas line that triggered an explosion

  • On Tuesday, a broke out on support vessel Kharg, one of Iran's largest ships

  • All 400 crew were evacuated as firefighters attempted to put out the blaze

  • But they could not save the ship, which sank 20 hours later near the port of Jask

  • Come after series of attacks on ships that Iran and Israel blame on one-another

A huge blaze has broken out at an oil refinery in southern Tehran just hours after one of Iran's largest naval ships sank after catching fire in the Gulf of Oman.

Officials said the fire at the Tondgooyan Petrochemical Co. was an accident, blaming a leak in a liquefied gas line that triggered an explosion. The cause of the leak is unclear.

Intense flames and plumes of black smoke that had been visible from far across the capital were gradually being brought under control on Wednesday evening, several hours after the fire broke out.

he cause of the fire on the British-built fleet replenishment vessel Kharg is still unclear.

A navy statement said a fire broke out in 'one of the systems,' without elaborating.

Footage aired by state television showed a massive column of smoke rising from what it said was the burning vessel.

Firefighting efforts continued 'for 20 hours' before the ship went down.

'Considering the spread of the fire, the mission to save the Kharg failed and it sank in waters off Jask,' the navy said.

The ship caught fire at 11:00 am (0630 GMT) on Tuesday as it was in 'domestic waters' during 'a training mission', Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted the navy's head of public relations Behzad Jahanian as saying.

Jahanian said the cause of the fire was 'still not clear'. The vessel sank at around 8:30 am (0400 GMT) on Wednesday.

All 400 cadets and crew disembarked safely, with 20 sustaining light injuries or burns.

In recent months, there have been reported attacks on Iran's shipping fleet that have been linked to its arch foe Israel.

The blasts also form part of a years-long shadow war in Middle Eastern waters which has also seen ships linked to Saudi Arabia and the UAE damaged - including a series of blasts in 2019 that almost drove the US and Iran to war.

US intelligence agencies had directly blamed Iran for two tanker attacks that occurred that year, sparking a series of tit-for-tat skirmishes that ended with a US drone strike which killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, and saw Iran launch missiles at a US airbase in Iraq in retaliation.

Israel and Iran - long-time regional foes - have most-recently been feuding over a 2015 deal signed by Obama that sought to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons in return for trade incentives.

Trump, spurred on by Israel, tore up the deal in 2018. Biden now wants to renegotiate terms with Tehran, which seems to have prompted the latest round of fighting.

Negotiations on the deal are ongoing in Vienna despite the clashes, which have also included strikes in Syria and attacks on Iran's nuclear program.

The more than 200 metre (more than 650 feet) long Kharg caught fire on Tuesday off the port of Jask on the Gulf of Oman.

Iran's ISNA news agency said its mission had focused on 'training, intelligence and combat' alongside the destroyer Alborz.

The Kharg was initially ordered from British shipmaker Swan Hunter in the 1970s by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi - an ally of the West - before the 1979 Revolution which saw him ousted from power and driven into exile.

Following the revolution, the Kharg became a political hot potato and its transfer to Iran was held up several times - firstly because of the hostage crisis which saw Americans held prisoner in Tehran from 1979 until 1981, and then because of the detention of a British nation - Andrew Pyke - in Iran.

The ship was eventually handed over to Iran in 1984, after the hostage crisis had ended and Pyke had been released, on the grounds that is was a support vessels and could not be used in offensive operations.

The sinking of the Kharg in just the latest naval disaster for Iran.

In 2020 during an Iranian military training exercise, a missile mistakenly struck a naval vessel near the port of Jask, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15.

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