Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Sunday, 25 May 2008 18:52 UK

Chemical blaze kills 30 in Iran

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An explosion and fire at a chemical plant near the city of Arak in central Iran has killed 30 people and injured 38, Iranian media report.

A container holding 60,000 litres of flammable products exploded during welding work nearby and the fire quickly spread.

Some of the dead were burnt beyond recognition and 23 of the injured suffered burns of 70% or more.

The factory reportedly produced cosmetics and detergents.

Most of the factory was destroyed but the fire was brought under control, according to one report.

The accident happened at 1600 (1130 GMT) in the plant near Arak, about 290km (180 miles) south-west of Tehran.

The region is home to much of Iran's industry, including one of its key nuclear sites, a heavy-water reactor under construction close to Arak.

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