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On November 28, massive explosions were heard in Isfahan, where there is a uranium conversion facility. The regime first claimed they were due to an “accident” and then said the reports were false. It has been reported that Western intelligence believes that a “bombing squad” infiltrated the site, setting off blasts that “wrecked” the site, including its stock of low-enriched uranium.
The Institute for Science and International Security, on the other hand, looked at satellite photos and concluded that the explosions did not occur at the conversion site and actually happened at a site 400 meters away. The buildings at the site were no longer standing when the photos were taken. The organization said that “this underground facility was originally a salt mine dating back to at least the 1980s, and that it has more recently been used for storage. It is unclear what Iran stored in this underground facility.” The ISIS says the eliminated buildings were being demolished before the explosion happened.
On November 23, there was an explosion in Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, reportedly destroying a stock of hundreds of missiles and rockets. Hezbollah’s headquarters in Beirut suffered a blast in July. On November 12, a Revolutionary Guards missile base at Bid Kaneh near Tehran was destroyed, killing a top engineer overseeing Iran’s long-range ballistic program and at least 16 other Revolutionary Guardsmen. Michael Ledeen reports that Ayatollah Khamenei was informed that the real death toll is 377, including 4 North Koreans.
On October 12, a Revolutionary Guards base at Khorramabad experienced an explosion at an ammunitions stockpile. The reported death toll was 18. The site has an underground stockpile of Shahab-3 long-range missiles and launching pads. The International Atomic Energy Agency says that this is the missile that Iran has been designing a nuclear warhead for. This same month, the “Son of Stuxnet” was discovered. Stuxnet is the name of a “cyber superweapon” that damaged centrifuges and possibly the Bushehr nuclear reactor in the summer of 2009. Those that found the new virus are certain that it had the same authors.
On July 23, an Iranian nuclear scientist who specializes in neutron transport, the kind of expertise needed for nuclear reactions, was shot to death at his home. There are unconfirmed reports that he worked on nuclear triggers at a secret site in northeast Tehran. He was the fourth scientist to die. In November 2010, two were attacked in the same manner as Roshan. One died and one was wounded. The one who died specialized in neutron transport (just like the one that died on July 23 did) and the other had been blacklisted by the U.N. since 2007 for his role in Iran’s nuclear program.
In January 2010, a nuclear scientist was killed in a bomb attack. It is less certain that this was at the hands of a foreign intelligence service because he supported Mir-Hossein Mousavi, an opposition leader who ran against Ahmadinejad for the presidency. A man thought to be a top Hezbollah operative was witness to the scene. In January 2007, a scientist who worked at the Isfahan conversion site died when he was “suffocated by fumes from a faulty gas fire,” according to Iran.
In 2009, there was an explosion at Natanz, after which the chief of the Atomic Energy Organization was fired. Three years earlier, an explosion at the site destroyed 50 centrifuges. The regime said that “manipulated equipment” caused it. The U.S. and Israel have long tried to sell Iran booby-trapped equipment for its nuclear program on the black market. David Ignatius has reported on how faulty equipment has undermined the Isfahan site’s ability to remove impurities from low-enriched uranium.
There are too many incidents in too short of a period for these to be accidents. One or more foreign intelligence services must be behind them. The tempo of these incidents has increased sharply since October. A major covert campaign to rip apart Iran’s nuclear program is underway. If the pace holds, we should expect another incident within weeks.
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