iran fires

Apologies in advance for any mistake I may have made due to my rudimentary knowledge of the Persian language. Bebakhshid.
Amid growing interest from international media in Iran's fires and explosions over the past few weeks, some analysts stressed the need not to overemphasise these events. Especially in the summer, especially in a country with a record of (quite some) neglected infrastructure, these events are just ordinary.

It makes sense that local media such as Irna.ir track each of these occurrences. However, international media's obsessive attention seems a bit inappropriate.

Digging into IRNA archives - only Irna's archives, because Irna generally offers good media coverage and because I wanted to be consistent in the identification of these events over time - I collected data on major fires and gas explosions which hit Iran in mid May-end July one year ago, in 2019. The intent was precisely to show that these events occur frequently (unfortunately), so that those happening this year are not anomalies.

Excluding fires in green areas such as parks, forests, gardens - which do deserve attention, but for other reasons not addressed here - according to the IRNA archive there were at least 97 fires or explosions between mid May 2019 and the end of July 2019. That is, more than one per day over those 2.5 months. Their seriousness varied a lot and this is why I differentiated fires and explosions in military/nuclear sites (black, only in 2020), in medical centres (a cross - perhaps I should have used a red crescent), in factories/power plants/public places (dark red), and in private residential units (light red). Data show that, just like this year, also in 2019 there were explosions or fires at power plants, factories, hospitals, research centres, vessels, arms depots.

Comparing 2020 with 2019, the only major difference lies in explosions at military or nuclear centres. Those hitting Natanz and Khojir some weeks ago were indeed worth investigating. But, apart from those, it would make little sense for the international media to continue covering obsessively every ordinary explosion taking place in the country, wouldn't it?

Searchable dataset (mid May 2019-end of July 2019, irna.ir)

Some extra anecdotal evidence: 5,700 buildings caught fire in Tehran in the year 1397 (mid 2018-mid 2019), according to the Tehran city council.