Looks like he’s got a serious target on his back. KGS

Did Ahmadinejad narrowly escape assassination attempt? Explosion as president goes to open Iran’s largest oil refinery

Last updated at 4:03 AM on 25th May 2011

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  • Ahmadinejad has clashed with Iran’s theocratic elite

Assassination attempt? Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, centre, tours the Abadan oil refinery Assassination attempt? Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, centre, tours the Abadan oil refinery

An explosion at Iran’s largest oil refinery shortly before a visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the country’s president, was due to a ‘gas leak’, officials have claimed.

But differing reports of the sequence of events surrounding the blast, in Abadan, southwest Iran, have sparked suspicions that the controversial leader may have been the target of an assassination attempt.

The semi-official Fars news agency said the blast took place in the morning hours, just before Ahmadinejad was to inaugurate an expansion project at the refinery.

At least 20 people were injured from the blast, which set of a fire at the site, the report said. The explosion was blamed on a ‘gas leakage’ but there were no further details.

Another report, by the semi-official Mehr news agency said at least two people were killed and that the blast took place while Ahmadinejad was visiting.

It said the president ordered a special plane to airlift those critically injured to Tehran.

Iran’s state television, meanwhile, said the explosion happened after Ahmadinejad had left the site. A live broadcast showed the president speaking to local officials at the refinery.

All reports said firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze that followed the explosion.

But the discrepancies in the media reports about the sequence of events at Abadan could not  be reconciled. Officials at the site could not be reached for comment.

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