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At least two people were killed Tuesday in a refinery explosion caused by gas leak in the southern Iranian port city of Abadan during a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the local satellite Press TV reported.

An earlier report by local Mehr news agency said 22 staff of the refinery were also injured.

The incident occurred when Ahmadinejad was to inaugurate a new gasoline producing project in Abadan Refinery. The inauguration ceremony by the president was left uncompleted, said Mehr.

The emission of the poisonous gas and the thick smoke have caused the staff and some of the participants to be poisoned, said the report, adding that some of the injured and poisoned were sent to a hospital in Ahvaz, the capital city of Khouzestan province.

The president and the delegation accompanying him were unhurt in the incident and the firefighters had taken the fire under control, said Mehr.

According to the report, the development plan of the Abadan refinery was aimed at producing the premium gasoline and petrochemical materials.

Iranian oil officials have said that Iran would be able in a short time to meet its gasoline needs under any circumstances without facing any difficulty.

The United States passed the Iran sanctions bill which would punish businesses that supply Iran with refined petroleum or help to develop the country’s own refining capacity.

As the fourth oil producer, Iran lags behind in the oil refinery industry and relies a lot on imports of refined petroleum and other energy products.

However, Iranian officials have reiterated that the West’s potential gasoline sanction on Iran over its nuclear program will help the country gain self-sufficiency in gasoline demands. Xinhua

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