It was just yesterday when, in an interview with CNN, Israel PM Netanyahu reminded the world that before there was ISIS, there was Israel’s most loathed enemy Iran, and told Fareed Zakaria that in addition to combating ISIS, Netanyahu said Israel and other moderate Arab states see Iran’s nuclear program as a “twin” challenge that goes hand-in-hand with stopping the spread of radical Islam. From that point on it was only a matter of time before something exploded.
That something took place a few hours ago when a large explosion took place near a suspected nuclear site in Iran has reportedly killed two people and according to the Washington Free Beacon, prompted speculation of sabotage at a military site long suspected of housing Tehran’s clandestine nuclear activities, according to Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO), which operates under the country’s Ministry of Defense.
The Free Beacon, citing Fars New Agency, reports that one explosion rocked a production plant late Sunday night in east Tehran, near the Parchin nuclear site. The explosion at a facility referred to as a “production plant” caused a fire that killed two workers, according to Fars, which cited information provided by Iran’s DIO. Fars first reported news of the explosion, claiming that it took place at an “explosive material factory” near Parchin. According to Iran opposition sources, the blast killed at least four military personnel.
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Official state run outlets, which often censor material, quoted the head of Tehran’s Fire Squad as saying that four fire stations responded to control the fire and that some were “wounded” during this.These official reports acknowledge that Parchin is a military site, but claim that actual explosion took place at a non-military installation used as a waste storage depot.
Other thinly sourced reports, such as one from London’s Manoto TV, claimed that as many as 35 were killed in the explosion, though no such number has been confirmed.
Other reports referred to a “strong” and “tremendous explosion” that “shook Eastern Tehran” and blew out the windows of a nearby building and impacted about a 10-mile area, according to Saham News.
The report also cites the explosion as taking place near the “Parchin military site,” which has been known to house “high explosives” and other work related to Iran’s nuclear program, according to the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
“The Parchin site is among the military sites of Tehran which produce solid fuel for ballistic missiles without any safety rules and precautions,” Saham reported, according to a translation provided by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Iranian security forces blocked off local streets and assumed a presence near the facility following the explosion, according to the report.
In addition to Netanyahu’s veiled threat, it bears observing that the explosion came just hours before inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Organization were set to tour some of Iran’s nuclear sites, according to Fars.
Iran has long claimed that Western nations and Israel are attempting to sabotage its nuclear site, and has been, for the most part, correct in accusing Israel of sabotage-related provocations, whether via STUXnet, by drone or by conventional weapon means.
It remains to be seen if this just the latest provocative Israeli act that it hopes nobody notices or comments on, and later is shocked to find when its neighbor states retaliate.