Part 2: Iran’s Fires and Explosions Are Not Unusual

The fires and explosions in Iran in the summer of 2020 were not anomalies. Some were quite ordinary, especially in a country with a long record of neglected infrastructure and especially in summertime. Data retrieved from the archives of IRNA — used for consistency and because the news agency provides fairly consistent media coverage of such incidents–shows that these kinds of events occur frequently. In 2019, IRNA reported at least 97 fires or explosions — at power plants, factories, hospitals, research centers, vessels and arms depots — or more than one per day over 2.5 months. During the same period in 2020, Iran witnessed at least 83 incidents. In both years, the seriousness of the events varied significantly. (Neither year includes fires in green areas such as parks, forests and gardens.)
The only major difference between 2020 and 2019 was the number of explosions at military or nuclear facilities—notably at the Natanz nuclear facility on July 6 and the Khojir missile plant on June 26.

Related material with chronology of incidents: "Mysterious Explosions Rock Iran"

The following maps detail the site and type of fire or explosion assembled from IRNA data:

  • fires and explosions in military/nuclear sites noted in black (and only happened in 2020),
  • medical centers noted with a cross
  • factories, power plants, public places are noted in dark red,
  • and private residential units are in light red.


2019 vs 2020


Click here for more information and the searchable dataset.

Tiziana Corda is a PhD Candidate at the University of Milan. Follow her on Twitter @tizianacorda.


Some of the information in this article was originally published on July 21, 2020.