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More Warnings About Dangerous Chemicals In Tehran, After Beirut Blast

Shahran oil depot in Tehran. File photo
Shahran oil depot in Tehran. File photo

Following a warning from a Tehran City Councilor about the dangerous location of gigantic oil storage in the Shahran neighborhood of Iran’s capital city, the head of the Tehran Crisis Management Organization insisted on Friday, August 7, that moving all these large chemical depots out of the cities is a national demand and not limited to a local request.

According to the Borna News Agency Reza Karami specifically mentioned the two large warehouses of Be'sat and Shemiran, reiterating, "The removal of these chemical depots from the cities is not a local request, but a national demand."

However, he added that the evacuation and transfer of these warehouses "is not the municipality's responsibility, but of the institutions involved."

Shemiran Chemical depot belongs to the National Iranian Oil Company, and the Ministry of Energy owns Be'sat.

After years of urban development, the depots are currently located in a densely populated residential area of the Iranian capital city, Tehran.

Yesterday, a member of the Tehran City Council, Majid Farahani, referred to an oil depot in the Shahran neighborhood in northwestern Tehran as a "time bomb" that could cause Tehran "a more terrible catastrophe than the recent Beirut explosion."

A massive explosion in Beirut's port on August 4 killed about 150 people, injured more than 5,000, and left 300,000 homeless.

According to Mr. Farahani, the Shahran Oil Depot is just one example of a high-risk facility in Tehran's residential fabric. The facility was built in 1974 outside the city limits, but the area has been developed into a densely populated residential district in the past twenty years.

The head of the Tehran Crisis Management Organization said the municipality's duty is limited to "identify" the high-risk facilities and sending a notice to the relevant bodies.

Meanwhile, Reza Karami noted that evacuating and moving such facilities is a costly operation; hence it has not been done.

In June of last year, the substation of the Be'sat power plant, with its chemical storage is in the same area, caught fire, but the blaze was contained.