At a memorial service for the 17 fatalities of the blast, Larijani told the Fars news agency that "these accidents always happen in big countries."
- Report: Iran blames Israel for deadly blast Senior officer killed in Iran blast
- Blog: Mossad behind Iran explosion
Iranian armed forces chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi also denied that Israel was behind the blast. Speaking to ISNA he said that the blast occured during research on weapons that could strike Israel,
"This recent incident and blast has no link to Israel or America but the outcome of the research, of which the incident happened as a consequence, could be a strong smack to the mouth of Israel and its occupying regime," he said.
Among those killed in Saturday's blast at a Revolutionary Guards base arsenal in Bidganeh, near the city of Karaj, 25 miles (40 km) outside the capital, was Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam, an officer with a rank equivalent to that of a brigadier general.
Smoke rising from site of blast (Photo: AP)
Iranian media outlets stated that Moqaddam was one of the "cornerstones" of the artillery and missile units at the Revolutionary Guards during the Iran-Iraq war. According to reports based on information provided by Iranian opposition groups, the base in which the blast occurred stores Shahab-3 as well as surface-to-surface missiles.
Iran maintains that the blast was an accident.
US blogger Richard Silverstein was the first to report that the Mossad was behind the blast. In his blog, Tikun Olam, Silverstein quotes an Israeli expert as saying that the Mossad was responsible for the explosion, in collaboration with the Iranian militant opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq.
Then on Monday, a Western intelligence source told Time Magazine on Monday that he estimates that the Mossad was behind Saturday's explosion at an Iranian missile base near Tehran. "Don't believe the Iranians that it was an accident," the official said.
According to the Time report, the same anonymous source said that more sabotage is being planned to impede the Iranian ability to develop and deliver a nuclear weapon. "There are more bullets in the magazine," he said.
Israeli officials refrained from reacting to news of the blast but Defense Minister Ehud Barak did tell Army Radio that while he had no idea what caused the blast he hoped it was the first of many.
Reuters contributed to the report
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