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Monday, January 28, 2013

Fordow blast gets more confirmation (UPDATE)

From the excellent Missing Peace blog:

Dr Ali Reza Nourizadeh, a senior researcher and director of the Centre for Arab & Iranian Studies in London, confirmed during a telephone interview with Missing Peace that an explosion has occurred in the underground uranium enrichment facility in Fordow Iran.

Nourizadeh, who is a commentator for Deutsche Welle and the Voice of America and has an extensive network of contacts in Iran, told us that the explosion has caused relatively little damage to the uranium enrichment facility itself but that the blast has blocked the entrance to Fordow. He confirmed that more than 200 personnel are trapped in the plant and that there is a unknown number of casualties.

He said that since the blast the city of Qom, where Fordow is located, has been encircled by forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. He also reported that today the regime arrested between eight and twelve Iranian journalists who where accused of collaborating with foreign media. Nourizadeh said that local journalists have been responsible for leaking information about the incident in Fordow. Their computers and other equipment has been confiscated.

Nourizadeh dismissed reports about an imminent Iranian retaliation against Israel via Hezbollah. He said that Iran will not retaliate at this point of time, but it could be that Hezbollah will heat up the border with Israel for reasons more related to the Syrian civil war.

Meanwhile Israeli TV channel 10 reported that the US government has officially denied that an explosion took place Fordow.
I also received an email from Israel:
Minister Uzi Dayan, indicated on radio [Reshet Beyt, Middle East magazine; 7pm - 7:50 pm approx] that there had been an explosion of some kind at Fordow. But he pointed out that Iran has many enemies, thus not taking responsibility for the explosion in Israel's name.
It is starting to look like my decision to run the story on Friday (which I was on the fence about) was a good one.

Too bad if the centrifuges weren't damaged or destroyed, though.

Earlier Fordow stories here and here.

(h/t EG)

UPDATE: From PJ Media's Tatler:

I’m told that there was indeed an explosion, which took place in a gas line that was being run to a new part of the Fordo facility, deep underground. I don’t know if it was sabotage or an accident, but eyewitnesses talk about a monster blast, and it does indeed appear that lots of workers are trapped.

There are lots of explosions in Iran’s pipelines, and at the country’s refineries, as I’ve pointed out several times. Both petroleum and natural gas pipelines are blown up regularly, and the biggest refineries are often out of commission.

This is different; the regime dearly wants to craft atomic bombs, and the new Fordo facility, cleverly concealed from IAEA inspectors, would have added to their capacity, and, as long as it remained secret, would have enabled them to work away from the snoopers. Now, not only is the new facility exposed, but it, and the surrounding operations, are severely damaged.

UPDATE: Still too early to know all the details, but it seems the gas line was being run to a facility separate from the formerly-secret-but-now-well-known site. So while the new, very deep underground, project was blown up, the older one is intact.