Blast at Iranian refinery as Ahmadinejad visits

A lethal explosion at an Iranian oil refinery during a visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday left the President unhurt but delivered an embarrassing blow to his drive to increase gasoline output.

Mr Ahmadinejad appeared on state television shortly after the blast, lauding the inauguration of Iran's latest refinery upgrade. But two MPs said the plant in Abadan, south-west Iran, was unsafe and should not have been rushed into production. The semi-official Mehr news agency, which initially put the death toll at two, said a gas leak had caused the blast.