The explosion Monday at an Iranian military complex, in which two people were killed and dozens injured, was not an accident but the work of a foreign nation, Kuwait’s Al Rai, citing unnamed Washington-based European diplomats, reported Friday.
The report implicated Israel in the incident, saying, “That very same blast [in Parchin] led Iran to order Hezbollah to place a bomb at Mount Dov, which then wounded two Israeli soldiers.”
Iran has reportedly been using the facility to conduct research related to its alleged nuclear program. The unnamed diplomat in the report said that “it is possible the attack managed to thwart new Iranian attempts to arm their missiles with unconventional warheads.”
It is still unknown whether the blast was an accident or an active act of sabotage carried out by US or Israeli intelligence, but the complex, described by the semi-official news agency ISNA as an “explosive materials production unit,” lies within the Parchin military complex, which is at the center of allegations of past Iranian research into sophisticated explosives that can be used to detonate a nuclear warhead.
Therefore, analysts believe, it would be a preferred target of both the US and Israel.
Though Iran had permitted access of international observers to several sites tied to its nuclear program, they have kept Parchin off limits to external forces.
One expert on Iran told Jennifer Rubin, a blogger of the Washington Post, to “never underestimate the Iranian regime’s capacity to screw up on its own without the involvement of foreign intelligence services.”
“The ambiguity as to the cause of the explosion,” Rubin writes, “serves the West’s interests, and especially Israel’s.”
“It is a reminder, at the very least, to the Obama negotiators as well as the mullahs that Israeli intelligence and military remain the wild card, even as the US president seems bent on giving away the store at the negotiating table,” she writes.
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs Iran panel’s report in July, co-authored by former Obama administration adviser Dennis Ross and former Bush administration undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman, said that in order to bring Iran to give up its nuclear capability, the US must “boost the credibility of Israel’s military option.”
“Contrasted with the United States, which has the unquestioned capability, but uncertain will to carry out such a strike, Israel’s own capability may not match its clear determination to prevent a nuclear Iran,” the report said.
The panel recommended transferring “bunker-buster” bombs to Israel to “reinforce diplomatic efforts in two ways. First, by sending an unmistakable signal that Israel has the ability – on top of the will – to execute a military strike,” as well as to “increase Tehran’s concerns about what could happen if no acceptable deal is reached. Second, it would bolster the US position at the negotiating table by communicating preparedness to consider other options if diplomacy goes nowhere.”
Iran refuses entry to UN nuclear envoy
A delegate from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was refused entry into Iran last week, reports the semi-official Fars news agency.
Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog, did not identify the delegate but said that he was not IAEA inspector and a had a “particular nationality.”
Najafi continued on to say that Iran had “sovereign right” to deny a visa to even a IAEA delegate.
IAEA inspectors have been denied entry into Iran in the past due to their Western nationalities.
Iran hails ‘constructive’ talks with UN nuclear agency
Iran said Thursday it held “constructive” talks with a visiting delegation of the UN nuclear watchdog seeking to resolve outstanding issues in Tehran’s disputed atomic program.
Tero Varjoranta, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, led the team which held talks Tuesday and Wednesday on two final points on which the IAEA is still seeking explanations from Iran.
The two questions focus on concerns that the Islamic republic’s nuclear activities had military dimensions.
“During these two days, all the bilateral issues were discussed, in particular, how to carry out the agreed measures and the ways forward were discussed,” said Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Reza Najafi.
The IAEA disclosed in September that Iran had failed to meet an August 25 deadline to provide information on five points meant to allay fears it was developing nuclear weapons.
Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
One of the IAEA’s questions centers on Iran’s purported experiments with large-scale high explosives.
Under an agreement reached in November 2013 with the IAEA, Iran has already responded to 16 of the 18 issues the agency identified as relevant to its nuclear activities.
Satisfying the IAEA’s concerns is considered crucial to a hoped for conclusion by November 24 of a comprehensive nuclear agreement with the United States and other world powers.