Nov 28 2011
IRAN’S Fars news agency says blast heard distinctly in several parts of the western Iran city; a uranium conversion plant near Isfahan went online in 2004. Iranian government said to be embarrased by this latest in a series of explosions and cyber attacks on its nuclear facilities.
HAARETZ According to reports, frightened residents called the fire department after the blast, forcing the city authorities to admit there had been an explosion.
Speaking with Fars news agency, Isfahan’s deputy mayor confirmed the reports and said the authorities are investigating the matter. However, after the incident was reported in Israel, the report was taken off the Fars website.
It seems that city authorities and the Iranian government were embarrassed by the reports of a blasts, releasing contradictory versions of the alleged events. One example is a statement given by the same deputy mayor to the Mehr news agency, saying he had no reports of an explosion.
Another confirmation came from the head of the city’s judiciary, who said an explosion-like sound was heard. Meanwhile, the Mehr news agency reported there has been a blast at a petrol station near the city. Another report pointed to a training accident.
The reported incident occurred about two weeks after Gen. Hasan Tehrani Moghaddam was killed together with 20 other Guard members Nov. 12 at a military site outside Bidganeh village, 40 kilometers southwest of Tehran. The Revolutionary Guard said the accidental explosion occurred while military personnel were transporting munitions.
It should be noted that Iran operates a uranium conversion plant near Isfahan, one with an important function in the chain of Iran’s nuclear program. It first went into operation in 2004, taking uranium from mines and producing uranium fluoride gas, which then feeds the centrifuges that enrich the uranium.
Since 2004, thousands of kilograms of uranium flouride gas were stockpiled at Isfahan and subsequently sent to the enrichment plant in Natanz.
Commenting on the report of an explosion in Isfahan, U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said: “We don’t have any information at this time other than what we’ve seen in the press as well. But certainly we’re looking into it.”
Who was behind the last mystery explosion 2 weeks ago on an Iranian military base?