Time for another mysterious explosion near a key Iranian military facility
Less than two weeks after a mysterious explosion destroyed an Iranian missile base near Tehran, the Islamic Republic’s official news agency Fars reported Tuesday that a loud blast was heard in the city of Isfahan at 2:40 pm local time, but later removed the report…
Iran’s uranium conversion plant is located just outside Isfahan – one of the country’s largest cities…
In a curious turn of events, shortly after the initial report was published, the item was removed from the [Fars] news agency’s website, which is affiliated with the country’s Revolutionary Guard.
Hours later, conflicting reports began to surface, the deputy governor of Isfahan province telling Iran’s Mehr news agency that there was no report of a major explosion in the province.
Isfahan’s deputy mayor confirmed to Fars that the city had been rocked by a huge explosion. Then, after that report was quickly blacked out, he turned around and told Mehr it was all a big fat lie.
So what happened? Mossad infiltration? Undetectable CIA super-drone? The wickedly insidious hand of Stuxnet II at work? Iran’s already admitted that its computers have been infected, you know. Or was it some sort of fiendishly clever Iranian psy op designed to convince the west that it needn’t attack because Iran’s nuke program is already being sabotaged by some shadowy heroic outfit?
The smartest take I’ve seen on this is from our own J.E. Dyer, who argues that it’s none of the above:
[T]here are good reasons to doubt that the uranium conversion facility – the main operational component of the Iranian nuclear network in Esfahan – was being targeted.
I very much doubt the UCF was attacked, and it is very unlikely that it suffered an accidental explosion. (The UF6 stored there could not have caused a blast like the one reported.)…
One thing these sites have in common is that they store lots of fuel. A blast of the size reported, which was heard in several places throughout Esfahan and broke windows in some (unspecified) areas of it, was probably caused by a fuel depot explosion.
The speculation is that this explosion may have been done by Iranian dissidents.
So whodunnit? Dyer, citing Michael Ledeen, thinks it was local dissidents waging war against the Revolutionary Guard from within.
More interesting however - is the fact that this article also takes a look back at the explosion that occurred back on November 13, and gives some new information:
It is an assumption a Western intelligence source insists is correct: the Mossad — the Israeli agency charged with covert operations — did it. “Don’t believe the Iranians that it was an accident,” the official tells TIME, adding that other sabotage is being planned to impede the Iranian ability to develop and deliver a nuclear weapon. “There are more bullets in the magazine,” the official says.
The powerful blast or series of blasts — reports described an initial explosion followed by a much larger one — devastated a missile base in the gritty urban sprawl to the west of the Iranian capital. The base housed Shahab missiles, which, at their longest range, can reach Israel. Last week’s report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had experimented with removing the conventional warhead on the Shahab-3 and replacing it with one that would hold a nuclear device. Iran says the explosion was an accident that came while troops were transferring ammunition out of the depot “toward the appropriate site.”
Eye Witnesses Claim 'Unusual' Movement Of Israeli Missiles
Multiple eyewitnesses reported seeing Israeli military trucks in recent days transport and station large missiles at the periphery of Jerusalem and in locations inside the West Bank.
The descriptions of the projectiles are consistent with the Jewish state’s mid-to-long range Jericho ballistic missiles.
The missile movement, if confirmed, would be considered unusual.
Earlier this month, the IDF did test fire a long-range ballistic missile, believed to be a Jericho III, at the country’s Palmachim Air & Space test center. Israel’s Ministry of Defense confirmed the test was successful, indicating the purpose of the launch was the testing of a new advanced propulsion system.
Jericho III’s are believed to be guided by radar and reportedly give Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as within large parts of South America and North Oceania.
Any missile placement could be related to the unstable situation in Syria, including fears of a future NATO military campaign there that could have ramifications for Israel, such as firing of missiles into the Jewish state by Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.
And once again, we see the threats against Israel:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned in an interview with a U.K. newspaper earlier this month that foreign intervention in Syria would cause an “earthquake” across the region and create another Afghanistan, while directly threatening the Jewish state.
Assad reportedly made similar comments in a meeting in early October with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu.
He was quoted stating, “If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.”
Assad also reportedly warned that “all these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack the U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. and European interests will be targeted simultaneously.”
This next story is possibly important because its been a long time since missiles have been launched into Israel from Lebanon:
2 Rockets from Lebanon lands in Galilee; None Hurt
At least two rockets fired from Lebanon landed inside of Israeli territory near Biranit and Netua in the Western Galilee, some 700 meters from the Lebanese border overnight Monday, a police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post.
The Western Galilee was a target of Hezbollah rocket attacks during the 2006 Lebanon War, but the front has been largely quiet for the past several years.
An explosion was also heard in the Ma'alot area in the Western Galilee. Police were searching the area with the help of the IDF for signs of an additional projectile falling.
Army Radio reported that the projectile which landed in Biranit was a Katyusha rocket.