Monday, January 28, 2013

Israeli sources confirm blast at Iranian nuclear facility Jan. 21 at 11:30 a.m..

Report: Major explosion hits Iran's underground Fordow nuclear facility after it crosses 'red line'
 Israeli sources confirm blast at Iranian nuclear facility
London Times report cites intelligence officials who say Iran hasn’t evacuated area around Fordo plant; unclear if explosion was ‘sabotage or accident’

January 28, 2013
Israeli intelligence officials have confirmed that a major explosion has rocked an Iranian nuclear facility, according to a report Monday in The Times of London.
The British daily cited officials in Tel Aviv who said the blast occurred last week, as originally reported on the website

Iran is not believed to have evacuated the area surrounding the Fordo plant, according to the same Israeli sources, who said that an investigation into the blast was ongoing.

“We are still in the preliminary stages of understanding what happened and how significant it is,” one Israeli official told the London Times. He did not know if the explosion was “sabotage or accident” and refused to comment on reports that Israeli aircraft were seen near Fordo at the time of the blast.

On Sunday, two senior Iranian officials dismissed reports of the explosion.

Deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi said there had been no explosion at the Fordo facility whatsoever, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

The chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, referred to rumors of the blast as “Western-made propaganda”and said they were “baseless lies” meant to impact ongoing talks on Iran’s nuclear program, reported IRNA.

The original report published Friday claimed that a blast deep within Fordo last Monday “destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground,” citing information from former intelligence officer Hamidreza Zakeri, who it said used to work with the Islamic regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security.

The article claimed the blast “shook facilities within a radius of three miles,” that Iranian security forces had “enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles,” that the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast, and that, “as of Wednesday afternoon, rescue workers had failed to reach the trapped personnel.” It said USofficials were aware of the reported blast.

Report: Israelis confirm blast at Fordow facility
By JPOST.COM STAFF -- 01/28/2013

(Thursday, Jan. 24, Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi ceremonially promoted Col. G., commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal, to the rank of major general in recognition of his unit’s “outstanding covert operations.”)
SCOOP: Iran’s Fordo Nuclear Plant Extensively Damaged by Sabotage
by Richard Silverstein on January 27, 2013  

Across Yediot’s front page, this major headline blared (see image): Explosion: Mystery in Iran
fordo explosion yediot screenshotYediot headline: “Explosion–Mystery in Iran”
A highly-placed Israeli source informs me that Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Fordo has been extensively damaged by an explosion. The bomb was the work of a joint Israeli-U.S.-MEK sabotage operation codenamed Achilles, which used a Trojan horse to infiltrate the plant.

Bibi Netanyahu convened an extraordinary meeting of all the top intelligence and military brass on Wednesday, the day after the election, to evaluate Achilles. They deemed it a “great success.” Word of the meeting leaked to the media, so the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) released a cover story saying the meeting was about the Syrian situation (Hebrew). It wasn’t.

Such sabotage has happened before to Iranian nuclear facilities. But one of the things that is new about this operation is that this is the first time in his previous reporting that my source has told me the U.S. and MEK collaborated with the Mossad. Previous assassinations were joint efforts of only the MEK and Israel. If this is true, it may mean that the State Department’s removal of the MEK from the U.S. terror list has allowed the CIA to begin working with the Iranian group in a much more direct fashion. Those of us who know about the nature of the MEK can only be alarmed that our government is allying itself with a terrorist cult.

(MEK and Muslim Brother Hood – What is Obama doing?)
The MEK was labeled a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) [34] by the U.S. State Department for its killings of U.S. servicemen and contractors in the 1970’s. It was recently removed from the FTO list after an extensive lobbying campaign [35] on its behalf, despite news reports that the group remains militantly active. Citing U.S. officials, NBC News revealed [36] on February 9 that MEK was conducting the assassination campaign of Iranian civilian nuclear scientists while being armed and trained by Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service.
Muslim Brother Hood:  Founded in 1928 by the Egyptian schoolteacher/activist Hasan al-Banna
MB was established in accordance with al-Banna’s proclamation that Islam should be “given hegemony over all matters of life.” Toward that end, the Brotherhood seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate, or kingdom -- first spanning all of the present-day Muslim world, and eventually the entire globe. The organization further aspires to dismantle all non-Islamic governments wherever they currently exist, and to make Islamic Law (Shari’a) the sole basis of jurisprudence everywhere on earth. This purpose is encapsulated in the Brotherhood’s militant credo: “God is our objective, the Koran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle [jihad] is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”
Iranian intelligence sources who defected to the west: the uranium enrichment plant in the belly of the earth near Qom was destroyed last week.

Alex Fishman, whose article accompanies the headline, includes hardly a reference to the astonishing news featured in the headline. He does refer to sabotage and mysterious failures which have beset the nuclear program and caused any estimation of an Iranian nuclear weapon to be delayed by two years.

The Yediot headline may refer to a report by Iranian defector using the pseudonym, Reza Khalili, and published in the far-right news site, WND. He was the first to report on the explosion and based his story on a former Iranian intelligence official. That source alleges:  The regime believes the blast was sabotage and the explosives could have reached the area disguised as equipment or in the uranium hexafluoride stock transferred to the site…

The accident occurred on Monday at 11AM Iran time. He adds that 240 personnel are also trapped underground and could not be rescued so far.

To be candid, I would never believe anything Khalili said unless it could be independently corroborated. This explains why. He is an entirely untrustworthy source, nor is WND a reliable publication. But given my source, who added further details not published by Fishman or Khalili, I trust there was an explosion at Fordo. Further, I spoke with an Israeli security correspondent whose work is entirely independent and trustworthy. He too is confident there was such an event. He also agreed the information I published above was accurate as far as what he knows.

Now the question is what impact this will have on Iran’s nuclear program and on the prospect for an attack against Iran. Fordo was Iran’s most advanced, secret, and secure enrichment facility and damaging or destroying it would be a major blow. Further, since the Iranians believed it was impregnable to attack they saw it as a “winning negotiation card” according to Muhammad Sahimi, they could use in negotiations with the west. Now they’ve lost that card and proven that even their most well-protected facility is vulnerable.

But Iran has decentralized its program so that precisely such a setback will not destroy the entire project. Only 20% of Iran’s centrifuges were in Fordo. The rest are in Natanz and other sites. The loss of a large number of scientific and technical staff, if that has occurred, will also damage the program. But again, it has been organized so that even such a devastating outcome could be overcome by other research units around the country. Progress will be delayed, but not stopped or reversed….

Explosion in Iran on Saturday, 26 January, 2013 at 05:04 (05:04 AM) UTC.
Base data
EDIS Number:
Event type:
Saturday, 26 January, 2013 at 05:04 (05:04 AM) UTC
Last update:
Cause of event:
Damage level:
Geographic information
County / State:
Province of Qom
Fordow Nuclear Facility
N 34° 53.220, E 50° 59.760
Number of affected people / Humanities loss
Foreign people:
Affected is unknown.
Dead person(s):
Injured person(s):
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Evacuated person(s):