Seventeen Iranian servicemen were killed and several others seriously wounded in an explosion on Saturday at a military base near Tehran that happened as troops were moving munitions, a Revolutionary Guards spokesman told state TV.
"My dear colleagues in the Revolutionary Guards were moving munitions in one of the arsenals at that base when, due to an incident, an explosion happened," Ramezan Sharif told news channel IRINN.
"Some of the casualties are reported to be in a critical condition," he added.
Earlier, the semi-official Fars news agency carried a statement by the Revolutionary Guards which said the blast happened in an arsenal at a base in Bidganeh, near the city of Karaj, 25 miles (40 km) outside the capital. The Mehr News Agency said the site was closed to reporters.
Hossein Garoosi told the Iranian parliament's news agency Icana.ir that the explosion broke building windows close to the site of the blast outside Bidganeh village.
Tehran Police Chief Ahmad-Reza Radan said that a specialized team has been dispatched to the scene to examine the circumstances surrounding the blast.
A rescue helicopter and six ambulances have been deployed as well. Iran's Red Crescent has also sent three rescue squads, which include search dogs, with hopes of finding survivors.
"The cause of the explosion and the number of casualties are being investigated," Radan said.
Dudi Cohen, Reuters and AP contributed to the report
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop