*** In the current climate of fear and tension, amid escalating threats from the USA, an incident like this could trigger a war with the potential to spread to neighbouring Iraq and set the whole Middle East ablaze. ***
Iran explosion almost started World War III
Mystery blast sparks false alarm in Iran
A large explosion in Iran sent oil prices leaping around the world this afternoon when it was feared wrongly that it could signal the outbreak of hostilities.
Iranian state TV reported that a missile had been fired from a mystery aircraft, but said later that the explosion may have been caused by a fuel tank dropping from an Iranian airplane.
Later still, a spokesman for Iran's Interior Ministry said: "We have no reason to say it's a hostile attack. There is a big possibility that it was a friendly fire by mistake."
The spokesman, ahanbakhsh Khanjani, said that there had been several mistaken friendly fire incidents reported in recent days.
State TV said the "powerful explosion" was in the province of Bushehr near the southern city of Dailam, which is about 100 miles from a major new nuclear plant. Russian authorities, who are assisting in building the plant, confirmed there had been no attack on it.
The reports came shortly after Iran and Syria announced they would form a "common front" to face challenges and threats. Fears of a hostile attack sent oil prices climbing, with more than a dollar added to the barrel price of global crude.
They also came on the day that Israeli officials said that the Teheran authorities would know how to build a bomb in six months.
The US says that Iran is part of an "axis of evil" and President George Bush has described it as the world's "primary state sponsor of terror".
Meanwhile the US has recalled its ambassador from Syria in response to Monday's killing of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The US has not blamed Syria for the assassination but argue that its military presence and influence are affecting Lebanon's stability.
The Independent (AP), "Mystery blast sparks false alarm in Iran", 16 February 2005.
"The Insider" mailing list article, 17 February 2005.
Tags: , conspiracy theories.