There is circumstantial evidence that points to another Israeli covert attack on a major Iranian nuclear facility, this one in Parchin. Local reports say a major fire and explosion broke out:
But the enormous orange flash that illuminated Tehran around 11:15 p.m. local time clearly came from that direction, several witnesses said.
…Witnesses in the east of Tehran said that windows had been shattered in the vicinity of the military complex and that all trees in a hundred-yard radius of two villages, Changi and Hammamak, had been burned. The villages are on the outskirts of the military site.
In its report, Israel Defense publishes satellite images and analysis that claims “an attack” against bunkers in the complex. I don’t know if use of the word was intentional or not. But it is highly suggestive. In addition, how did IsraelDefense get access to these images? I have a pretty good idea. Their friendly Israeli intelligence source wanted to let the world know about the accident. Either he wanted the world to know purely to feast on Iran’s misery; or because his agency had something to do with the explosion.
If you look at the damage portrayed in the photo, it appears there was blast impact not in one specific location, but in two. They’re separated by enough distance to indicate that the explosion was more than an accident, but likely a deliberate act of sabotage.
It’s no accident that only two weeks ago Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister, Yuval Steinitz, whose portfolio is monitoring the “Iranian threat” (as Israel sees it), warned that researchers at Parchin had allegedly carried out critical tests of a new neutron ignition switch for a nuclear weapon:
A statement from Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, issued a day before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – the architect of Tehran’s nuclear diplomacy – was to address the U.N. General Assembly, said the implosion tests at Parchin involved neutron sources that would include nuclear material.
Israel, his statement said, based its information on “highly reliable information”, without elaborating.
It gave no specific dates for such testing, saying only that it occurred after what it called the 2000-2001 construction of a nuclear weaponisation test site at Parchin…
“It is important to emphasise [sic ]that these kinds of tests can have no ‘dual use’ explanation, since the only possible purpose of such internal neutron sources is to ignite the nuclear chain reaction in nuclear weapons,” the Israeli statement said.
If you parse this carefully, Israel is refusing to say when the tests took place. They might have been conducted any time within the last fifteen years! Further, the claim that the test cannot have a “dual use” is also so vague as to be meaningless. They can’t have dual use because Israel says so. Barring real evidence, is this sufficient to ensure credibility?
Whether or not such testing occurred, Israel believed it had. If it did sabotage the plant, then the Steinitz report could constitute warning and threat that was fulfilled by the attack.
As an aside, Jeffrey Heller the Reuters reporter who wrote this story twice refers to Israel as “the Jewish state.” One wonders whether any reporter would refer to Britain as “the Protestant state,” or France as “the Catholic state,” or even Pakistan as “the Muslim state.” In a story about nuclear weapons, why mention the subject of religion at all? It indicates that the mainstream media have bought into Bibi’s propaganda that the most important aspect of Israel’s existence is that it is a Jewish state. It’s shameful to find such lazy journalism with so many unexamined underlying assumptions at Reuters.
What’s especially important about this report, aside from the possible serious damage to Iran’s scientific research at Parchin, is what this means regarding Israeli relations with the U.S. on the Iran nuclear issue. Clearly, Bibi Netanyahu is angry at the prospect of Iran and the west reaching a nuclear agreement that leaves Iran with an enrichment program, centrifuges and facilities in place which could in future renew a nuclear weapons program (if Iran even has one to begin with). Bibi is a Rottweiler who, once he clamps down on a victim, cannot release his grasp. He cannot give up on the Iran “threat.” Like George Bush’s War on Terror, it reaps too many political dividends.
Realizing he has lost leverage with the P5+1 powers, such a massive attack on Iran sends a clear message that Israel has left the reservation, if it was ever on it. Israel will go its own way. It will not coordinate. It will not consult. It will act, come what may. It will leave everybody else to pick up the pieces afterward.
This is a potentially very dangerous development if Israel was involved. It means that regarding Iran, Israel has become a rogue state. No one can be sure exactly what it might do (short of a full-scale military attack, which I’ve reported was taken off the table by Israel in 2011). Even if the rest of the world comes to term with Iran’s alleged nuclear program, Israel hasn’t and never will, at least under this government.
Given the relatively weak leadership Pres. Obama has shown on this and so many other issues, one has to wonder what he will do if Israel takes further, more damaging actions that threaten to torpedo any deal or general rapprochement with the Iranian regime.
The greater questions should be, not what is Israel’s involvement, but rather, ‘What was Iran testing in Parchin?”
‘Why isn’t the IAEA allowed to inspect Parchin?’. And, ‘Were trials being conducted involving controlled detonation of fuses intended to serve as triggers for nuclear devices?’
What do you think?
The State of Israel with its 200+ nuclear warheads, submarines, ballistic missiles and aggressive foreign policy is not part of the P5+1 negotiations. Israel has not signed the NPT treaty nor has it ratified the UN CBW treaty. Etc. etc. … it’s a rogue state by statutes of International Law.
So you wont answer the question. We already know israel has nukes. We are asking about iran.
Richard Silverstein says
@ ben: You & Fred are now “we?” Ugh. I detest the tag team aspect of this hasbara effort.
As for Fred’s questions, answers are perfectly clear. Iran has no WMD and will never create WMD unless it appears Israel will attack. Once that happens, Iran will be hell bent to create & deploy WMD. So tell Bibi to keep sabotaging Iran & even attacking pre-emptively. It’s the surest way to send Iran over the brink into the nuclear club. Seriously, I’d suggest all you hasbarists tell the Israeli Rottweiler: down boy!
So you think the only reason why iran would only develop nukes is israel? I was under the impression that Saudi Arabia was more of a threat to be honest. Though I hope you are correct as israel is the bad cop to the American good cop and we have no intention to attack as pointed out by you in 2011.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Ben: Of course with lunatics like Bibi & Barak threatening annihilation Iran might want nukes. And given that Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Gulf States have also spent tens of billions on weapons to be used to attack, Iran views them all (including Israel) as allies and potential enemies. S.A. even financed Israel’s anti-Iran programs to the tune of $2-billion.
A rogue state by the prejudiced standards of the UN Human Rights Council perhaps?
Nice try, UNHRC is not International Law! The Hague and the ICC would be a nice begin for the US and its “democratic” allly in the ME.
USA is signatory to Nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
Terms of that treaty require that nuclear “have” states (which includes USA) reduce and eventually eliminate ALL nuclear weaponry.
But according to the newspaper of record, ‘U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms” — http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/us/us-ramping-up-major-renewal-in-nuclear-arms.html?_r=0
Neither Israel nor USA is the monitoring and enforcing agency of the NPT; that task belongs to a group agreed upon by NPT signatories, the IAEA. Iran is monitored by IAEA.
When Israel bombed Osirak in 1981 it moved the pebble that set in motion the boulder that culminated in the disaster that is today the conflagration of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria.
So the greater question should be, Why is Israel not held to account, and made to abide by international law and civilized behavior?
What is the link between Osirak and Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria?
Out up or shut up, Fred says
Fred: “The greater questions should be, not what is Israel’s involvement, but rather, ‘What was Iran testing in Parchin?” ”
It’s a military munitions testing facility, Fred. That’s what it does, and the Iranians have never pretended otherwise.
So the fact that something went Boom! at a military munitions testing facility is not in itself indicative of the need to involve the IAEA.
Munitions facilities do explode, Fred, and not just in Iran.
Fred: “Why isn’t the IAEA allowed to inspect Parchin?”
Because it is a military site, and states don’t like seeing people poking around inside military sites.
And they have a point: the IAEA does not claim that there is any fissile material stored at Parchin and “absent a nexus to nuclear material” (look it up) then the IAEA has no right – none whatsoever – to demand access.
It can “ask”, sure, it can.
And the Iranians agreed. Twice.
So the IAEA did inspect Parchin. Twice.
They found nothing, yet they came back and asked a third time, at which point the Iranians (quite correctly) told the IAEA that they had no intention of allowing an open-ended fishing expedition inside their military munitions testing facility so, no, piss off.
Fred: “Were trials being conducted involving controlled detonation of fuses intended to serve as triggers for nuclear devices?”
The Iranians say “no”.
Now, be honest: do you – or Steinitz – have any evidence whatsoever to the contrary?
If you do then show us. If you don’t then ya’ got nothin’.
Iran missile capability not up for debate in nuclear talks
(Press TV) Aug. 23, 2014 – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says the country’s missile capability is not up for discussion in talks with six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
Answering a question about the Parchin military site located outside Tehran, the defense minister said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will not be given another chance to visit the facility because the UN watchdog has already completed its inspections there.
“The Agency has already conducted its inspections in Parchin and there is no reason for granting renewed access,” he added.
Dehqan stated that Iran has answered all questions and ambiguities put forward by the IAEA about Parchin, adding that the UN nuclear body has not brought up any new questions.
The Iranian official was reacting to remarks by some Western officials, particularly in the United States, who have called for Iran’s missile program to be included in the nuclear talks with the six countries. A recent Pentagon assessment said Iran’s military achievements pursue defensive purposes, putting the seal of approval on Iran’s military doctrine.
Tehran’s missing nuclear answers | Gulf News |
In an interview on September 8, Ali Khorram, advisor to the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, suggested an alternative explanation.
Khorram said: “What happened after the Vienna-6 talks [that ended on July 20] was the submission of maximalist positions [by the West] and revision of the sanctions list by the US. This caused discontent in Iran which affected the process of its cooperation with the IAEA. As a result, out of five [transparency] steps that, according to the agreement with the IAEA, were supposed to be taken [by Iran] no later than August 25, only three were accomplished … as a sign to the West that any agreement should be based on mutual satisfaction.”
When asked how the Parchin dilemma could be resolved, Khorram maintained that the issue could be resolved within the framework of the “final and comprehensive” agreement. “If confidence is built [and a final agreement is reached], Iran has no choice other than to clear up all the ambiguities related to its nuclear programme, including any possible activity at Parchin.”
In other words, Khorram indicated that Iran would consider providing information on the issues with PMDs, as well as allowing IAEA inspectors to visit the Parchin base, provided that the West ceases its side manoeuvres and imposition of pressure. Instead, the West should focus on the realisation of this comprehensive agreement through negotiations.
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 resumed with the first full plenary since negotiations were extended in July | Sept. 18, 2014 |
Parchin is not a nuclear facility! Your headline perpetuates a deception that is not worthy of a site dedicated to democratic values.
Parchin is a military complex that has been alleged by two states in the West (US and Israel) to have conducted Nuclear-related tests. Although the government of Iran is under no obligation to allow inspection of undeclared facilities, Iran has allowed an earlier inspection of Parchin by IAEA in which IAEA declared to have found no evidence of nuclear activities.
By any reasonable account Parchin cannot be called a “Nuclear Facility”! Calling it such could be considered as part of propaganda war.
Actually, a Washington-based think tank, Institute for Science and International Security obtained commercially available satellite imagery on which six buildings at Parchin appeared damaged or destroyed and concluded that the site of the possible blast was not the same Parchin location where the UN nuclear agency suspects that Iran carried out explosives tests that could be relevant for developing a nuclear arms capability.
Put up or shut up, Fred says
It is a military munitions testing facility, Fred. The place is huge.
Are you suggesting that the IAEA be allowed to simply poke around anywhere it wants inside such a facility merely because David Albright buys a satellite photo, stabs his stubby little finger at it and shouts “There! Look Theeeeeere!!”.
Because if you allow that then you are allowing an open-ended fishing expedition, because Albright is quite shameless: if an inspection *there* reveals nothing then Albright will simply stab his finger on another building and shout “What, nothing? OK, then look here instead. Heeeeeeere!!!”.
Does Albright know where the shit is, or doesn’t he?
Apparently he doesn’t. He’s just stabbing about in the dark.
Does Albright even know what it is that he wants “found”?
Apparently he doesn’t. He “knows” that Iran is guilty of…. something… but that appears to be the limit of his, ahem, “knowledge”.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Fred: Ah yes, Fred, who doesn’t expect us to know that ISIS is David Albright’s personal scientific fief & that Albright is a notoriously pro-Israel source in close contact with Israeli intelligence. How do you think the IAEA gets those anonymous leaks from an anonymous “intelligence agency” claiming Iran is hellbent on creating WMD?? Don’t believe anything Albright or Fred tell you unless confirmed by a second more credible source.
Thank you for the entertainment.
I don’t know if you are following the news but Iranian news agencies have reported on the explosion – so that is not in question. ISIS did not have to obtain satellite imagery. Of course, the imagery of a “sinister” events in a military facility is titillating – isn’t it.
One more thing Fred.
I always “double check” what I read. There is a lot of entertainment being marketed as “news” these days.
Here is a guideline for you – perhaps helpful beyond learning about ISIS and Albright
1. I read the news of the explosion
2. I asked: “I wonder if Iranian news agencies have reported this”
3. I went to google search in my Chrome browser and typed: Iran news agency explosion parchin
4. A couple of variations and a restriction of the search by date and Voila!
I hit the translate button when I went to the page and read about the explosion in Parchin
I checked the date, translated it to our time and date, and low and behold it is the morning of the explosion!!
If you are not clear on what the real story is yet, let me help you… The news was out before ISIS came out with satellite imagery titillations! More translation: Albright reads the Iranian news media, learns about the explosion, pays for a satellite image series knowing exactly what date to look for, gets in front of the media, and pretends to be the expert he is not, and selling the idea that he has single handedly discovered something!
This is not the first time Mr. Albright has sold a bill of goods to naive people. Now, you have to tell yourself the famous Bush line of “Fool me once, Shame on you, fool me twice…ahhh… we won’t be fooled again”
Will you continue to be fooled?
I can understand why someone would report a blast at a military installation in Iran, even speculater about nuclear connections of that installation, but what I cannot understand is why Issrael would wish to make its part therein — or its claimed part if its part is really NIL — known? Is it an inabilkity to refrain from boasting?
Is boasting an intrinsic part of the character of officials of “The Jewish State” (or should I write “The Only Jewish State”?
The state-run Fars News Agency confirmed the explosion in a short announcement. The agency stated the “fire” was the result of an incident at an explosive production facility and two employees had been killed.
○ Local sources in Tehran reported a massive explosion at the Parchin military complex in Iran
Are ou sure this guy, silverstein is telling the truth? How much of the news can one believe, after all, everyrthing can be shopped.
And, again, the last time this happened, about a week or so ago, the news was that a nuclear plant was bombed, but witnesses on the ground, in Iran, reported that it had been only a fire, NOT the big excitement that was reported in the world news.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Barbara: I think we’re talking about the same event. It happened a few days ago. Iran claims only two people died. But my guess, if this report is correct, is many more died. As for whether this is more psy ops against Iran, who can tell. But my hunch is that it’s the real thing & Israel was involved. I should add I have no independent confirmation of this from any usual Israeli sources.
Richard said: ” They’re separated by enough distance to indicate that the explosion was more than an accident, but a deliberate act of sabotage.”
Maybe there was an initial sabotage, but the magnitude of the explosion, the flash and the huge blast felt many kilometers away leaves little doubt that this is a facility related to the nuclear program.
Iranians probably were using the facility to develop the conventional explosives which will wrap the two half-spheres of the enriched uranium in order to begin the nuclear reaction and nuclear explosion.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Fred: Yup, Fred’s an expert on Hamas rocket technology, Iron DOme, & now Israeli sabotage detonations. Care to regale us with the source of such varied expertise?
In fact, there’s far more than a little doubt about your claim. And once again, you offer no evidence or proof other than the size of the boom to support your claim. Bad form, Fred.
As for what Iran was “probably” trying to do, I’ll leave that to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about…which ain’t you!
I expect that Western intelligence gathering drones are overflying Parchin as we speak, sniffing and collecting air samples that will show the composition of the explosive material and whether there is any radioactivity present.
Untill than, your speculation is no better than mine.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Fred: My speculation is far better than yours because I offer support & evidence such as I have while you offer opinion backed by smoke & thin air.
Put up or shut up, Fred says
Fred: “Maybe there was an initial sabotage, but the magnitude of the explosion, the flash and the huge blast felt many kilometers away leaves little doubt that this is a facility related to the nuclear program.”
Oh, please, get real.
Parchin is a military munitions testing facility. It is stuffed chock-full of things that go Boom!
That something went Boom! does not “prove” that Parchin is used to conduct research on nukes.
By your “logic” the fate of the Mutsu “proves” that the Empire of Japan was conducting nuclear weapons research in 1943.
If Parchin is a “munitions testing facility”, and “That something went Boom!”, then why does Richard suspect Israel of sabotage? Why sabotage a (volatile) location that has nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear weapons development?
Richard Silverstein says
@ Fred: You need to ask why Israel would sabotage a major Iranian military installation (even if wasn’t doing WMD testing)? The question answers itself, as spite conceals a major portion of Israel’s approach to Iran. Also, what Israel believes is happening there may not be the same as what is actually happening there.
What Israel believes? Well, apart from the fact that nations do not and cannot believe, you’ve got a lot of Israelis engaged in “security” and some of them “believe” this and that and some of them “suspect” this and that and some of them tell lies.
As to lies: why not bomb (or claim after an explosion to have bombed) an Iranian installation and CLAIM that it was nuclear? That works well among Israelis, puffs up the “security” folks, etc.
How could an outsider tell the difference between “knows”, “believes”, “suspects”, and “lies”?
Arie Brand says
If Israel has been going it alone here, ignoring US policy on the matter, this can only further threaten a relation that according to Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel, is in trouble enough. This is part of what he said at a talk in a Washinton D.C. synagogue during Yom Kippur:
The U.S.-Israel relationship is critical, is essential to Israel’s survival,” Indyk told the audience. “And the relationship is in trouble.”
U.S. support for the Jewish state is “the bedrock that Israel has always relied on … and I worry that bedrock is crumbling,” Indyk said, laying partial blame at the feet of Democrats.
“We have a situation,” he said. “Support amongst Republicans for Israel is really high. … But the truth is that most Jews are Democrats, and amongst Democrats support for Israel is only something like 43 percent.”
“That’s a huge gap, which is indicative of the fact that it has become a partisan issue,” Indyk added.
However, the longtime negotiator reserved his harshest criticism for the Israelis.
“On the Israeli side I see something which I’m really, really disturbed by, which is the total disrespect on the part of some on the right in Israel for the relationship with the United States,” Indyk said.
“And that manifests itself with right wing politicians standing up excoriating our leaders, who are trying to do their best for Israel,” Indyk said.
The header is grossly misleading. Parchin is not a nuclear site but a military base where, amongst other activities, explosives are tested. Sometimes this goes wrong, and not only in Iran.
Dieter Heymann says
“Not only in Iran”. Correct. Many years ago there was an explosion at the Dutch munition factory of Uithoorn on the Amstel river. That factory was much, much smaller than Parchin. A few month later when I happened to drive (on bike) by on my way to Gouda I noticed that this relatively small factory was completely destroyed.
Actually, during the 17th and 18th centuries much of the explosives for the Dutch army were produced in small factories inside the city of Amsterdam. Eventually the city government forced the production of munitions out of the city because of the repeated explosions which had killed bystanders and neighbors as well as workers in these factories.
Andrew Nichols says
It means that regarding Iran, Israel has become a rogue state.
It’s been one for years in case you hadn’t noticed and as long as it owns the US Govt via AIPAC servitude, it will do what it likes.
[comment deleted: Thinly concealed snarky Iranophobia/Arabophobia is prohibited]
Well the ignition system is rather complex and sophisticated. .. so being sarcastic by saying what else can it be used for is fair game. And Richard every israeli I have ever met be it jewish druze palestinian smokes nargila… not sure how that is any phobia.
Richard Silverstein says
A stupid, false argument meant to hide your Arabophobic snark. You’re done in this thread. Don’t come back to it.
○ Hezbollah attack on Har Dov ordered by Iran following explosion at nuclear facility | JPost |
According to unnamed sources in Washington, Iran ordered its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to carry out Tuesday’s attack on Israeli forces patrolling the Israel-Lebanon border following an alleged attack on the Parchin nuclear facility in Iran “by a foreign state,” the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai reported.
[Other sources speak of a retaliation because of Shebaa Farms incursion by IDF and testing Hezbollah’s readiness for defence]
In this post as well as the comments, 90% is speculation, so people read into the reports what they want. If one wants to rant against Israel, then Israel did the bombing and the facility was not related to the nuclear program. If you are an Iranian, the explosion was an accident at a toy factory. If you are a right wing Israel supporter, than Israel did it to a nuclear facility, but its not enough. Nobody here really has the slightest clue what’s going on, so the speculation is just mental masturbation.
Bibi, whether you like him or not, is actually a rather cautious individual, and does not like to take risks.
For example– http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141641/hussein-ibish/bibis-first-war
I would not be quick to attribute to him foolhardy behavior. His conservatism also prevents him from taking political risks for peace as well, for which I am critical of him.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Jeff: You’re not really using Hussein Ibish as an authority for anything are you? Try again bud. Ibish isn’t a credible source, period. As for Bibi being “cautious,” perhaps when Jews are involved. When Palestinians are his victims he’s rash & homicidal.