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Small blast outside Western offices in Iran

A small bomb exploded outside the offices of British Airways, the BP oil group and DaimlerChrysler in Tehran on Tuesday, but there were no casualties.
/ Source: Reuters

A small bomb exploded outside the offices of British Airways, the BP oil group and DaimlerChrysler in the Iranian capital Tehran on Tuesday, but there were no casualties, officials said.

They said the blast at 9.15 a.m. (0445 GMT) was caused by a bomb hidden in a rubbish bin in the hallway of a large tower block on the floor shared by the three international companies.

“I was sitting at my desk and suddenly we heard an explosion and there was smoke everywhere,” said a witness who works in one of the offices.

“Everyone panicked, especially the BA office people who are mostly women, they started to scream and we ran out of the office. Windows were smashed, there was a lot of damage to the building, parts of the ceiling collapsed,” he said.

Iran is locked in a tense stand-off with Britain, Germany and France over it nuclear program. Iran said on Monday it had begun the process of restarting some nuclear activities which the three countries have warned could lead to U.N. sanctions.

Asked if there was a connection between the bombing and the nuclear dispute, British Ambassador John Dalton said: “We have no information yet to suggest so ...

No casualties
“I am very glad there were no casualties,” he told reporters. “It is clearly a serious incident. We don’t know who might be connected to this. I will ask British citizens and Iranian authorities to take additional precautions.”

A Reuters witness said the wall of the hallway was blackened above a rubbish bin next to the lift on the 10th floor of the large modern building. The large glass door of the BA office was blown off and lying on the floor.

“We heard a bang and rushed out of the office and saw smoke in the corridor,” Juergen Kuertz, manager of DaimlerChrysler in Iran, told Reuters. “The windows were smashed, but there was no one injured.”

Police at the scene confirmed it was a bomb blast.

Iran’s Interior Ministry said they had sent bomb disposal teams to the building.

A BA spokesman in London said: “There has been a very small explosion outside an office block used by a lot of Western companies, including BA which is on the 10th floor.

“There was no damage to the BA office, but the office will be shut for the rest of the day. I understand it was a very small device in a bin,” he said.