The U.N. nuclear agency is dismissing reports of a major explosion at Iran’s fortified underground nuclear facility.
International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Iran’s denial of “an incident” at the Fordo uranium enrichment plant is “consistent with our observations.” [...]
A diplomat familiar with the issue told AP that the IAEA’s information came directly from IAEA inspectors at Fordo.
As my friend Reza Kahlili reports, a few days ago there was an explosion at the Iranian nuclear facility at Fordo, near the holy city of Qom. Confirmation has been dribbling in, mostly from the German press. 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.
Abbasi also told the UN nuclear agency in Vienna that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the International Atomic Energy Agency, after the watchdog's inspectors arrived at the Fordo underground enrichment facility shortly after power lines were blown up through sabotage on Aug. 17.
Iran has several times complained that the IAEA is sending spies in the guise of inspectors to collect information about its nuclear activities, pointing to leaks of information by inspectors to US and other officials.
Late in August, a senior Iranian legislator said Iran's nuclear scientists and experts have managed to thwart enemies' plots to infiltrate and blow up the country's newly constructed Fordo uranium enrichment facility.
"The enemies intended to repeat a Chernobyl-like disaster through selling (booby-trapped) equipment and blowing up the centrifuges at the Fordo site, but their plot was discovered and foiled by the Iranian scientists' wisdom and tact," member of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Abbas Ali Mansouri told FNA at the time.
In relevant remarks, Iran's nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, said that separate attacks on Iran's centrifuges - through tiny explosives meant to disable key parts of the machines - were discovered before the blasts could go off on timers.
The military in Lebanon, which shares borders with both Israel and Syria, said on Wednesday that Israeli warplanes have sharply increased their activity over Lebanon in the past week, including at least 12 sorties in less than 24 hours in the country's south.
A senior Lebanese security official said there were no Israeli airstrikes inside Lebanese territory. Asked whether it could have been along the border on the Syrian side, he said that that could not be confirmed as it was out of his area of operations.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
A Lebanese army statement said the last of the airspace violations took place at 2 am local time on Wednesday. It said four warplanes which flew in over the southernmost coastal town of Naqoura hovered for several hours over villages in southern Lebanon before leaving Lebanese airspace.
It said similar flights by eight other warplanes were conducted on Tuesday.
Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace occur on a daily basis and Lebanese authorities routinely lodge complaints at the UN against the flights
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.
In a statement to Reuters, IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor implied the U.N. agency had inspected the site after the reported explosions and affirmed Tehran’s insistence that the report was false.
But when asked by WND, Tudor would not confirm or deny the incident.
“The agency does not evaluate matters in Iran other than those directly relating to its nuclear verification work, so although we’re aware of these media reports, we are not in a position either to confirm or deny them,” Tudor said in an email to WND.
“That said,” she continued, “I’m sure you are aware that agency inspectors regularly visit Iranian nuclear facilities under the IAEA’s safeguards agreement with that country. (You will find more information on the IAEA’s safeguards mandate and activities in Iran at www.iaea.org...)
“We understand Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordow, and this is consistent with our observations,” Tudor said.
However, in a follow-up inquiry by WND to verify if the IAEA had inspected the site since the report of the explosions, Tudor refused to answer.
“I’m very sorry but I can’t go into any further details on ongoing safeguards work, which is conducted with a high level of confidentiality,” she replied.
WND has received confirmation of the blasts from two additional sources, one in Iran’s Foreign Ministry and another in the intelligence agency of a European country.
Another source in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s office told WND the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, will be replaced because of the leaked news on Fordow and the delay in the talks with the 5-plus-1 powers over Iran’s nuclear development. The 5-plus-1 nations are the permanent Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany.
An official with a European intelligence agency who cannot be named for security reasons said that both the IAEA and the United States are worried about questioning Iran’s denial.
They are aware of Iran’s lies, the official said, but fear Tehran could stop the cooperation it so far has provided to the IAEA over inspections and derail any future talks with the 5-plus-1.
A source in the regime’s Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit told WND the situation in Iran is troubling. He reported an explosion at the Guards’ Hamzeh 21 base and the discovery of two bombs at the secret nuclear plant in Najaf Abad. He said Quds Force officers have been ordered to Lebanon to assist Hezbollah in evacuating some of the southern villages in what appears to be planned aggression against Israel.
The bodies of 11 of the technicians and scientists are beyond recognition, a member of the security forces at the facility told WND. According to this source, 60 others are in critical condition and have been transferred to the central base of the 27th Division of Mohammad Rassool Allah, which is equipped with a modern medical facility and is between Tehran and Qom.
Read more at www.wnd.com...
The foreign services division of a European intelligence agency, in confirming the explosions, said its information was verified by assets in Iran’s government. The Islamic regime is now cleaning up the site and assessing the damage. The agency above cannot be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, which could derail talks scheduled for Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan between Iran and the 5-plus-1 countries: the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.
In a letter to the IAEA two days after the explosions, Iran said it plans to install thousands of its upgraded centrifuges at its Natanz facility. The source said this was a direct result of the explosions at Fordow.
The Islamic regime, while preparing for talks with the 5-plus-1 powers and bilateral talks with representatives of the Obama administration, is also preparing to retaliate against the U.S., some European countries and Israel, according to an officer in a Latin America intelligence agency who confirmed the explosions to WND.
Documents on the explosions at Fordow and further verification will be revealed on WND soon.
RADIATION LEAKING FROM IRAN'S NUKE PLANT
Radiation is leaking from Iran’s nuclear facility at Fordow, which suffered devastating explosions on Jan. 21, WND has learned, and the regime has ordered millions of antidote iodine pills from Russia and Ukraine amid fears the radioactivity will spread.
The source provide these names of those killed at Fordow:
Five from a research team of the Center for Defensive Studies of the Jame Imam Hossein University of Tehran: Mohammad Rosham Entezar, Samad Doorbash, Jalal Namdar, Abdolreza Samadi and Mehdi Sufiaei.
Three from the Center for Research and Nuclear Support of Imam Hossein University in Tehran: Ali Ebadi, Majid Fakhri and Mehdi Jasoor.
Two from Physics University of Isfahan: Ahmad Abdolahipour and Alireza Parhizkar.
One from the University of Tabriz, Faculty of Physics: Hassan Soltan Nejad.
Three from Sharif University of Technology – The Center for Research of Physics: Faramarz Naghsh Ara, Hamid Boroostani and Saeid Fazeli.
One North Korean from the Atomic Research Center of Yongbyon: Chin-Hae Kang-Jun