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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Isfahan blast was NOT at nuclear facility

In a follow-up to yesterday's news from The Times of London that the large blast in Isfahan was at a nuclear facility, Missing Peace makes some very good observations:

The Times made headlines on Wednesday when it published an article about the mysterious explosion that took place in Isfahan Iran two days ago.

According to the Times a ‘second nuclear facility has exploded’ in Iran. The paper furthermore reported that the blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the ‘uranium enrichment facility’ there.

Sheera Frenkel the Times journalist who wrote the article based her story on ‘satellite images seen by the Times’. She also suggested that Israel was behind the blast.

The same journalist reported during the Gaza war in 2009 that the IDF was targeting Palestinian civilians with white phosphorous. That report proved to be false.

Now Frenkel reports that a second nuclear facility in Iran has exploded, and that the blast struck an uranium enrichment facility.

It is obvious that this is not true. The first blast in Iran that made the headlines, occurred two weeks ago in Bidganeh. It is now clear that this explosion took place on an air force base during tests with a long range missile, probably a Sjejjil 3 intercontinental ballistic missile.

This has been confirmed by Mohammed Teherani Moghaddam the brother of the senior Revolutionary Guard commander who was in charge with the Iranian missile defense, and who was killed in the explosion. So the first blast didn’t involve any nuclear facility.

As for the uranium enrichment facility. There is no such facility in Isfahan. Isfahan is a conversion plant where yellowcake is converted to hexafluoride, or UF6, and other compounds. This is then sent to Natanz, where the enrichment takes place.

The idea that the Mossad or another foreign intelligence agency would target Isfahan and not Natanz, does not seem to be logical at all.

Another point that cast doubt on Frenkel’s story was discussed by J.E. Dyer, a retired officer of the US naval intelligence. She pointed out that a very large bomb would have to be detonated to generate the window breaking blast experienced miles away in Isfahan.

It seems obvious that Frenkel’s story doesn’t hold water.

So what really happened in Isfahan?

Dr. Ali Reza Nourisadeh, an expert on Iran who writes for Al Sharq al-Awsat, told us on the phone from London that the explosion took place on air force base 8 near Isfahan. He said that 400 converted Chinese missiles were destroyed by the blast, as well as a rocket fuel depot.

He also reported that the explosion in Bidganeh two weeks ago, destroyed 180 long range missiles as well as warheads.

Nourisadeh based his comments on information he received from sources inside Iran.

Daniel Ashrafi, an Iranian expat now living in Canada, told us that Ayatolla Khamenei was supposed to be on the air force base in Bidganeh, when the first explosion took place. His arrival was delayed, however.

Ashrafi also said that after the humiliating events in Isfahan and Bidganeh, the regime deliberately created the crisis at the British embassy in Tehran in order to divert the attention to an external enemy,

Nourisadeh’s version of the story about the explosion in Isfahan makes more sense. Especially if one takes in account Dyer’s explanation about the large bomb that would have been necessary to generate the massive explosion that was necessary to cause significant damage at the yellowcake conversion plant.

The only thing which is really clear, is that the secret war against Iran has taken a new turn.

Now Iran is experiencing the same type of warfare that it has unleashed against its enemies since the Islamic revolution started. It could mean the opposition has decided that there are better ways to drive the mullahs out of power than a public uprising.