At least 17 people have been killed in a twin bombing near the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

Security officials told Reuters the blasts were triggered by car bombs, dismissing early reports rockets had been fired.

At least a dozen of people were reportedly injured. Paramedics rushed the scene to help the wounded and heavy security forces were deployed.

Live footage broadcast by Lebanese media showed smoke billowing from the diplomatic compound. Images showed several cars parked on the street outside the embassy damaged or completely charred.

The main, black gate of the embassy was blown out and also several nearby buildings were damaged in the blasts.

According to an Iranian armed guard patrolling the premises, the first explosion was detonated by a suicide bomber who drove a motorcycle to the embassy's gate and blew himself up. The guard confirmed the second blast was a car bomb.

Iran is a major supporter of Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah.

The civil war in neighbouring Syria has polarised confrontation between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East and violence has spilled over into Lebanon, a country that was itself torn apart by a bloody civil war from 1975 to 1990.

The embassy is located in the southern neighbourhood of Janah, which is considered a stronghold of ‎ Hezbollah.

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At least 17 people have been killed in a twin bombing near the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon (Reuters)
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Civil defence personnel carry a wounded man after an explosions near the Iranian embassy in Beirut (Reuters)
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Firefighters extinguish a fire on cars at the site of explosions near the Iranian embassy in Beirut (Reuters)
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At least seven people were reportedly killed in a twin blast near the Iranian embassy in Beirut (Twitter)