Powerful explosion kills 19 in Iran capital

The explosion at a health clinic in Tehran Iran

A gas leak caused a huge blast and fire at a medical clinic in northern Tehran, leaving more than a dozen people dead and several others injured, Iranian officials have said.

Thirteen died in the blast Tuesday evening at a clinic in the north of the capital, Tehran's attorney general, Ali Qasi Mehr, told state TV.

But a local newspaper announced on its social media Telegram channel that 17 people have been killed.

Deputy governor of Tehran has told local media that a possible gas leak led to a fire and explosion.

'They unfortunately lost their lives due to the heat and thick smoke'. A nearby hospital went on alert to receive additional injured people if necessary.

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Video posted online appeared to show more than one explosion and thick black smoke rising from the flames and another showed firefighters using a ladder to reach the roof of the building of the Sina At'har health centre.

The clinic, which carries out light surgeries and medical imaging, had 25 employees inside at the time of the explosion, Mr Maleki said.

The incident follows an explosion last week near a military site on the outskirts of Tehran that officials blamed on a gas tank.

Authorities offered no immediate cause for the blaze, but Peyman Saberian, head of Tehran's emergency services, said the accident was probably caused by a gas capsule explosion.

Iran had refused the IAEA access to the site because of the nature of its work, but the agency's then chief, the late Yukiya Amano, paid a visit there.

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