Bombs damage pipelines and oil well in Iran
TEHRAN: Small bombs damaged 15 pipelines and one oil well in restive southwest Iran on Thursday, an official said on Saturday, but quick repairs meant crude output from OPEC’s second exporter was unaffected.
Ahmad Tahampesar, operations manager of the state’s Karun Oil and Gas Exploration Company, denied earlier media reports that saboteurs had shut down five wells in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, Iran’s oil heartland.
“It was repaired by last night,” he told Reuters, when asked about the damaged well.
Khuzestan parliamentarian Nezam Mowlah Hoveizeh said separatist guerrillas from Iran’s Arab minority were responsible for the bombings.
Iran has long feared that insurgents from the Arab minority, some three percent of the population, would direct their anger against the Islamic Republic’s oilfields. Iran is the world’s fourth biggest crude producer with output capacity of around 4.2 million barrels per day. Mowlah Hoveizeh linked the attacks to Arab ethnic unrest that flared in Khuzestan in April, when five people were killed and some 200 arrested.
Later, bombs targeting government buildings in the city of Ahvaz just before Iran’s presidential election in June killed seven people and wounded dozens.
“This latest sabotage is connected to the Ahvaz explosions ... the role of the separatists has been revealed,” Mowlah Hoveizeh told the Sharq daily.
Following the argument of many conservative commentators, he added British agents were stirring the Arab unrest. “These incidents originate in London,” he added. The original unrest was sparked by rumours that Tehran wanted to relocate Arabs from Khuzestan to other provinces.
A recent UN report has commented that Iran’s Arabs, despite living on top of the country’s oil wealth, live in among the worst conditions in the country. reuters