Radio Free Europe

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Chemical Plant Blast In Southern Iran Injures 133, Leaky Tank Likely The Cause.

The blast took place at a sodium-carbonate factory in the city of Firuzabad, about 900 kilometers south of Tehran. (file photo)

The blast took place at a sodium-carbonate factory in the city of Firuzabad, about 900 kilometers south of Tehran. (file photo)

An explosion at a major chemical plant in southern Iran has injured at least 133 people and released a cloud of toxic gas into the air, prompting officials to cut links to the area.

The head of the Emergency Center in Fars Province said the blast occurred on June 14 at a sodium-carbonate plant in the city of Firuzabad, about 900 kilometers south of Tehran near the Persian Gulf coast.

The state ISNA news agency quoted Vahid Hosseini, head of the Shiraz Medical Sciences Center, as saying that 114 of the 133 people taken to hospital because of the explosion had already been released.

Most of the injuries, he said, were respiratory and "prompt treatment" minimized the impact on the victims.

The state IRNA news agency said the explosion most likely was triggered by a gas leak in one of the chemical tanks.

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