'Blast' at new Iran oil refinery as Ahmadinejad visits

One person has been killed and at least 20 hurt in an explosion at a refinery in Iran during a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian media say.

He was not hurt in the blast and went on to make a televised speech to mark the opening of the oil refinery, in the south-western city of Abadan.

A technical problem caused the blast and then a fire, Fars news agency said.

Thick smoke was seen rising from the refinery but the fire was under control, the semi-official agency said.

Another news agency, Mehr, said the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

The refinery is being launched in two phases and ultimately will produce more than 6m litres (1.3m UK gallons) of petrol a day, mostly for domestic consumption.

Correspondents say Mr Ahmadinejad's presence shows the importance Iran, a major oil producer, places on increasing its refining capacity as sanctions hit its ability to import petrol.

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