One never knows how much to attribute such stories to Israel’s predilection for Psyops against their Arab enemies, but several credible Israeli sources are claiming that Israel’s Mossad had a hand in the blast that rocked the Imam Ali Revolutionary Guard missile base in Iran yesterday killing 18 and presumably destroying a major portion of the base with a major explosion and fire. The N.Y. Times reports that the facility houses the country’s Shebab 3 medium range ballistic missiles. Presumably, if Iran ever developed a nuclear weapon, these missiles would be a possible payload vehicle. A possible Israeli attack would continue its reported efforts to undermine such capability.
If these sources are correct, then it’s no accident that this military disaster occurred just a few hours before the Iranian president touched down on Lebanese soil, where he was expected to thumb his nose at Israel and attack Hezbollah’s political opponents inside Lebanon. The attack would’ve been timed to cause maximum embarrassment. No doubt, his security detail expected that Israel would attempt to launch a direct attack on him there. A Knesset member as much as begged Israel’s security services to do so. But devastating a major military facility inside Iran would be a deft move coming from the Mossad.
Here’s the evidence supporting my conjecture. Haaretz’s military correspondent, Yossi Melman, wrote in today’s edition:
According to intelligence and a new appraisal, it’s possible that the explosion was not an accident, but an attack designed to target this specific missile base…In the past, foreign sources have claimed that Israel, through the Mossad, had activated Iranian opposition elements and underground groups opposed to the rule of the Ayatollahs, giving them a mission of performing acts of terror…
Yediot Achronot further reports that Global Security raised the distinct possibility that this may be an act of terror, and not an accident given the critical nature and function of this facility.
The Times article points to which of these opposition groups might’ve been behind the attack:
…The base is near the city of Khorramabad…and close to Iran’s restive Kurdistan region, the site in recent months of several attacks on Revolutionary Guards installations and personnel.
Last week, two Guards soldiers and five Kurdish militants were killed in a gunfight in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan Province.
In September, a bomb attack on a military parade in the ethnic Kurdish city of Mahabad killed 12 civilian spectators and wounded dozens more. Iranian officials accused “the Zionist regime and its allies” of masterminding the attack. State media said that Revolutionary Guards forces crossed into neighboring Iraq over the following days, killing 30 Kurdish fighters who were said to be involved in the bombing.
Another intriguing sidebar to this story is a report published several hours before the blast by Yediot’s Smadar Perry, the paper’s security correspondent, who is known to have close connections with Israeli intelligence. In the run-up to Ahmedinejad’s visit to Lebanon, she coyly wrote the following about how Israel’s intelligence community was responding to the trip:
What are they doing? Shutting their mouths tight. But anxious, in our own peculiar way to spoil his [Ahmedinejad’s] little celebration.
She further wrote about what Israel understood to be Iran’s security preparations for the trip:
Yediot Achronot has come to know that in recent days Iran has transferred from Teheran senior security and intelligence operatives to Beirut. They warn of an extraordinary act by Israel in Lebanon having the purpose of spoiling the visit and threatening the life of Hassan Nasrallah.
It would be a deft act of dissimulation to make Iran and Hezbollah think it would attack in Lebanon all the while planning to attack a target in the heart of Iran and one deeply valued by Iran’s military.