Before and After Photos of Iran’s Destroyed Missile Base

Check out these photos of Iran’s missile research facility near the town of Bid Kaneh about 30 miles outside Tehran. The picture above shows the facility in September and the photo after the jump shows the base on Nov. 22, almost totally destroyed by an explosion ten days earlier on Nov. 12.

That blast killed the head of Iran’s missile program, Major General Hassan Moghaddam, and more than a dozen other researchers as they were “apparently performing a volatile procedure involving a missile engine at the site when the blast occurred,” said the Institute for Science and International Security a DC-based think thank that released the photos this week.

The researchers were working on a version of the Shahab-3 ballistic missile that would be capable of hitting Israel.

This is the latest major “accident” that has befallen Iran’s nuclear and missile program in the last few years. There are already numerous claims that Israel’s Mossad and western intelligence agencies may have been linked to the blast, with the UK newspaper, The Guardian, quoting an unnamed intel official as saying “there are more bullets in the magazine.”

Who knows what this deadly sabotage campaign will lead to. It could cause Iran’s leaders to abandon their efforts or it could make them all the more determined to field nukes.

Click through the jump to do your own analysis of the scene. Sound off in the comments as to whether this increasingly kinetic sabotage of Iran’s missile and nuclear programs is a good or bad thing.

66 Comments on "Before and After Photos of Iran’s Destroyed Missile Base"

  1. Thermobaric?

  2. Wow, that was some blast… Weird one too; no crater, but a large blast area with buildings flattened. Almost looks like an airburst.

  3. @4FingrsOfBurbon | December 1, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply


  4. Wouldn’t be surprised to see some Israeli airstrikes “accidentally” hitting more of these Iranian sites in the near future…

    • Chad Castagana | December 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Reply

      C’mon! If this was the result of an Israeli air attack don’t you think Iran would be at war with Israel and the US right now?
      If the Iranians even suspected it was us would they not try to seal off the Straight of Hormuz right now with a military blockade?

      • on the Daily Show the other day But with complete conrotl over all of his minions the way he does, you’d think he could find someone to paint better pictures of him, steal some better glasses design, and someone who could do something for him about that hair. I mean, Hussein had nice hair. That’s the way a corrupt dictator should look.

  5. I am no BDA officer, but this certainly looks like more than an accident to me

  6. Oh, they were “performing a volatile procedure” allright…

  7. Could it be a US strike (B-2) that is plausibly deniable?

  8. “Accident” my a$$. I bet my hair on my chin that pentagon has a hand in this.

  9. I am not an expert but I have seen the end results of fires that had accelerants and oxidizers which I would presume rocket / missle fuel would have. This does just look like a fire / low powered burst which could be caused by fuel drums. An airburst explosive or thermobaric munition would have totally destroyed all the structures and there would be a more uniform outer radious also note the damaged building in the lower left looks burned through from the inside with damage on the outer wall and roof not the inner as would be more consistant with a air burst munition. But I would not rule out sabatage one well placed igniter or small charge on the right container as I am sure they do not use the same safety standards we do would create havoc in a fuel rich environment.

  10. FormerDirtDart | December 1, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply

    The damage looks quite similar to those that occurred at the Scaled Composite Mojave Air & Space Port facility in 2007. And, the disaster at the PEPCON Henderson Nevada facility in 1988. While there was some cratering at PEPCON, it was a product of underground fuel transfer piping exploding.

    • Bingo. I was a few miles away from the PEPCON facility when it went and among some of the first responders. This is very similar in appearance from the air. Odds are as good that it was an OP as they are for an accident. In either case the major intel organizations would give the public the appearance of its involvement both to elevate their perceived efficacy regarding deterrence of further development as well as cause Iran to focus resources on finding the “moles’ whether they exist or not. If MASSAD, MI6, or CIA did the deed, then good for us. If the Iranians think they did the deed and it was an accident…good for us. One thing is for certain, rocket propellant is dangerous to work with and they can look forward to more accidents one way or the other as they continue down this path that assures their destruction or failure…or both.

  11. What if this procedure they were doing was controlled by some type of computer controlled equipment….and what if that equipment had been hacked/compromised to ‘accidentally’ peform the procedure wrong…..

  12. Also, it looks like the origin of the incident was the building in the top left corner….it appears to be completely gone in the post accident photo. Also, the buildings on the edge of the facility away from that building appear to still be standing in the post photo. The ones adjacent to that building appear destroyed.

  13. So the engine exploded?
    Must have been a big engine

  14. Perhaps the “Beast of Kandahar” behaving beastly???

  15. I’m thinking MEK and Mossad.
    There are tons of rumors that Mossad backed MEK agents have been planting bombs in cornerstones of buildings all across Iran by infiltrating construction firms for the past decade.

  16. I’m with @leeretrarmy and @formerdirtdart this looks like a big explosion from a high-volume volatile substance stored in the northwest building. not exactly a surprise on a liquid-fueled rocket engine test site. doesn’t mean someone didn’t make it happen, but I don’t think anybody dropped any russian-tech thermobarics from a B-2, lol.

    • Yes, looking at the overall picture it seems that the explosion was on the west side of the facility and that the steel-frame/sheet buildings on the east side were subjected to something like 2 to 4 PSI overpressure. Working back from that and the distances, something like 10-30 tons TNT equivalent bang is indicated. I’d guess detonation of a store of missile fuel or its components.

  17. YAL-1A anyone? Beam that baby from standoff distance…

    • Who knows what’s flying around in their airspace? Probably not the Iranians.

      Maybe they are just accident prone. Poor old Ahmadinejad walking into doors and slipping on banana skins all day long.

  18. Morton Thiokol may have had a hand in this one??

  19. tribulationtime | December 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Reply

    Well. A) 300X300m compound. B) Buildings are made of corrugated sheet. C) looks more burned than blowing D) Walls are there. E) Propergols are likely to blow up as a thermobaric AKA Fuel-air explosives F) “Daisy cutter” claimed 300m of radius with 5 tonnes of less energetic “slurry” G) 5 tonnes are not to much for a rocket research base H) YES it cound be an accident….Other question is what / who light the fire.

  20. Wonder what blew up?

  21. If its real and not photo tricks its a good thing to the rest of the world. Maybe they hacked the wrong computer and got bad info. If it was a case of the CIA involvement, I say givem all a big raise.

  22. All this happens then the uk embassy gets took over hope it was MI6 and Mossad

  23. Now this is how you get the attention of islam-extremists and other terrorists.

  24. What could have happened, as it did with the Thor missile, was that a speck of dust got into the LO2 tanks. When they tested the engine, the whole thing exploded. Maybe.

  25. This was clearly and accident. MY GOVERNMENT SAID SO!

  26. I certainly hope there was no involvement from foreign intelligence agencies. That would be murder. I don’t approve of murder. If you approve of murder, please immediately put your money where your mouth is, prove your dedication to this principle and show up on the receiving end of it. It may sting a bit for a while, but the world will know you were a man of honor.

  27. I don’t believe the Israelies would be balzy enough to do something like that with an air strike, since where in town. But I could foresee a combined task force of all the nations with a axe to grind with the Iranians.

  28. Using my statistic generating algorithm that I store in my butt, I give it about a seventy to eighty percent chance of being an accident, twenty to thirty that it is sabotage. This wouldn’t be the first time a liquid fuel rocket exploded spectacularly.

    I don’t take any joy in ordinary Iranians dying, so I do see stuff like this as unfortunate. I will admit some relief at anything that slows down the mullahs ambitions, though.

  29. Well thats either another Epic Fail by the Iranians or another Epic win by the Israelis

  30. max lewandowski | December 2, 2011 at 1:06 am | Reply

    oops Iran missle base so sorry president jimmy justice for hostage karma?AOR7!

  31. sorta looks like a photoshop job really. I’m not convinced

    • Why don’t you fly into Iran and tell us for sure?

      Alternatively, they’ve moved the project underground and destroyed the facility.

  32. Here’s hoping they have additional similar success’s in all there future endevoirs.

  33. This is not the accident you are looking for!!! (Said the Mossad agent to the world)

  34. i hope they keep blowing themselfs up so we won’t have to. ha ha so long camel jockey’s.

  35. 27195271 John Ewing. Who do these certain people think that they are to have made threats often to nuke Israel off the earth? Then came the explosion of Iran’s Missile Base while they were still working on one to hit Israel. Was it an accident? Well. Whether it was or not, If Iran did not like what happened, maybe they could press charges against the Creator ( the God of Israel ) and see if they can arrest him? Sincerely, John. non Military member.

  36. looks like a bomb run

  37. OPSEC much…..WTF….

  38. I’d like to think the US and Isreal have the capability to make this happen.

  39. The good news is that it happend, regardless of the cause

  40. Iran is attacking to the world

  41. Laser Beam fired from a high flying stealth bomber, which dragged it’s laser from target to target until the place went Ka-BOOM !!!

  42. My goverment would not lie “ha ha” accident my ass.

  43. Those long pools of water are where the motors are tested. If the motor blew during testing, wouldn’t the center of the blast be at the test shed? Yet that shed appears to still be standing in the after photo.
    There is much more here then meets the eye.
    You got to figure Israel is just waiting for the USA to clear Iraq before going after Iran.
    The Yourows are pulling their diplos out, All ‘ell is about to break loose. I’m looking at the first week in 2012.

  44. worst vase of urban renewal i ever saw.

  45. As far as Iran goes and all those other “mothers” throughout the ME, this looks like “monkey business as usual”. I would say to the buffoons who are in charge of the future take-over of the WEST by Islamic Countries like Iran and others…..learn from the great, massive Russian - China war….The first day of the war on the front lines, the Chinese government surrenders 1,000,000 troops to the Russians….the second day of the great war, the Chinese government surrenders 3,000,000 troops to the Russians, the third day of the great war the Chinese surrender 5,000,000 troops to the Russians……the next day……the Russian government surrenders……the moral of the story….what do we do with all of these Chinese prisoners-of-war….they are running wild all over the place…..there is no place to put them all….they are eating all of our food…..we cannot control them….all of our roads are clogged with their vehicles…..they are attracted to our young women…..we give up……China… won.

  46. Did anybody read the “NO SMOKING” sign?

  47. It looks like the Chupacabra is at it again!

  48. Why did we wail this long?

  49. Are intelligent agencies are doing a great job keeping Israel and the rest of us safe. Thank you!

  50. couldn’t happen to a better contry

  51. Hey, stuff happens when you are trying to force-grow a tech field like this in only 5 or 10 years — something that the west has been tweaking and tuning for nearly a century.

  52. BAD JU JU

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