A New Blast at an Iranian Research Facility

The situation in Iran just keeps getting weirder. An explosion apparently rocked Esfahan, the town hosting one of the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear research facilities on Nov. 28, according to Australian and Israeli news outlets. This explosion comes only a couple of weeks after a massive explosion at a missile research facility killed the founder of Iran’s missile programs — many claimed that Western and Israeli intelligence agencies were behind that blast.

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a DC based think tank, just released these pictures showing what may be Iranian efforts to clean up what might be the blast site at a salt mine from the 1980s that is now used for storage that sits next to the Esfahan nuclear research facility. Keep in mind that the nuclear facility has its own network of tunnels, they could easily be linked to the mine.

Press reports indicate that this latest blast may too be the work of saboteurs, per ISIS:

An explosion reportedly occurred on Monday, November 28, 2011 somewhere in or near the city of Esfahan in Iran. The Times reported that the blast occurred at the Esfahan nuclear site and that it has seen satellite imagery that showed “billowing smoke and destruction.” The Times also cites “Israeli intelligence officials” as claiming that the blast was “no accident.” ISIS has acquired DigitalGlobe satellite imagery of the Esfahan nuclear site taken on December 3, 2011 and December 5, 2011. There does not appear to be any visible evidence of an explosion, such as building damage or debris, on the grounds of the known nuclear facilities or at the tunnel facility directly north of the Uranium Conversion Facility and Zirconium Production Plant at the Esfahan site.

It is still unclear where the reported blast occurred in Esfahan and whether it occurred anywhere near the nuclear facility. ISIS has identified a facility near the Esfahan nuclear site that underwent a significant transformation recently.

Click through the jump for before and after pictures of the razed facility.

This satellite photo from August shows the buildings at the old mine:

This image from Dec. 5, a week after the reported blast, shows that the buildings are gone:

50 Comments on "A New Blast at an Iranian Research Facility"

  1. Bet you Israeli Spec Ops or US black Ops are doing some good old sabotaging Iranian facilities.

  2. Iranians are rushing into this. There is plenty of opportunity for accidents. I’m not going to jump into any spec ops fantasies.

    • However, that has got to be a pretty cooincidental accident to remove buildings at 3 distinct locations - They could be “dummy structures” for demolition tests ???

  3. Plus, there are plenty of Iranians who are opposed to the government. It would not be hard for a janitor to drop off a time bomb.

    Of course, didn’t Tom Clancy suggest a bomb cased in Cellusose that consumed itself when it exploded? Perhaps one could be dropped from a drone on these targets?

  4. Where are the pics of smoke and destruction referred to in the Times story? All we have to go by are a few buildings removed? Need more to go by, to buy into this.

  5. OK guys- There was a blast which we though looked “interesting”, then we lose a drone, and now another blast? Too much to be a coincidence says me. Sounds more like limited combat, no?

  6. Wring timing. This blast was 11/28.

  7. Second blast occurred before the drone loss.

  8. So. Who is the aggressor here? It sounds like everybody’s thinks it’s Iran but it looks like to me that the U.S and Israel are the ones beating the war drums.

    Are people really buying into this propaganda? Wake up!

    • That would be like saying that sabotaging Hitler’s arm’s program before 1939 was an act of aggression and that Hitler would be only invading Poland in self-defense

      • While I am no fan of Iran, your analogy is a bit suspect. It is highly unlikely that Iran would begin invading its neighbors, even if it were armed with a nuclear capability.

        • Agree. Unlike most of it’s neighbours, Iran does not have a history of invading other countries, and wouldn’t benefit in any way from doing so either.

          Since the end of WW2 nuclear capability has always been used as a bargaining chip (thankfully) rather than as operational weapons. Right now Iran is surrounded by states who have such capability or who harbour troops from countries having it, which is likely the reason for them to want to have it too. Macho posturing and violent rhetoric aside, neither Iranians nor their leaders are suicidal.

          • No…. they aren’t suicidal…. they are smart enough to dupe ignorant believers of the Islamic faith into being suicidal for them. Furthermore, Iran is responsible for Hamas and Hezbollah- which have invaded a number of surrounding countries, so how has Iran not invaded? Just because they didn’t send a big army to do it overtly? Come on- they have already declared war on Israel, the US, and the Western World. What do you THINK they are going to do with this tech?

  9. Maybe they ought not be playing ’round with them nuclear toys like we been telling ’em.

    • Here’s news for you: The US is no longer in a position where they can tell other states what to do. Pakistan and India didn’t listen, and got away with it just fine.

      • And if they nuke themselves it makes it ok right?

        We told them not to do it for obvious reasons, their entire region will suffer now just for having it.

  10. If ever there was a country I didn’t want to have nukes it’s Iran, so good work guys, whoever you are.

  11. Too bad the SKorean CIA couldn’t do things like this to slow down and sabotage NKorean nuke program.

  12. Tribulationtime | December 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Reply

    I see nothing. If aussies and israelis knows about explosion… with seismographs, they can say where, when and yield…it easy ask they, don´t it?. Or others who have seismographs too. What we knows about they doing just in that place?.

  13. How will we know if they have the bomb?

    If they test it we measure what is to be measured.

    But what if they don’t test it at all and use
    it in faith?

    We will know then for sure.

    • Hoping that your national security doesn’t end in a fizzle is a bit much. But even a fizzle nuke can kill and irradiate.

  14. Maybe we have a “Rods from God” or Prompt Global Strike system after all, or at least I hope so!

  15. If Iran’s security is so lax, why don’t we just send someone to go blow up the RQ-170?

  16. Peehaps the buildings were temporary, like construction shacks. Or they could have been temporary offices and labs until construction of underground facilities was completed.

  17. Now that is what you call a PREMATURE DETONATION! Bada-Bing-Bada-BOOM!

  18. Sure…. blame us for your mistakes.

  19. Maybe Iran needs to update its health and safety at work legislation.

  20. What have the Heroes of Telemark been up too lately?

  21. Probably Bumblebee and a team of autobots.

  22. Probably some Iranian F-5 flew down their IED…

  23. Here’s hoping the captured RQ-170 will be the next thing to “accidentally” blow up…

  24. Maybe it killed all there scientist that work on there nukes

  25. They look like they had been targeted and yes, a bomb might have went off, but damn look at the destruction. It looks pretty bad. [YES!] I don’t know, not a bomb drop, no crater..airburst TLAM? No, thats too crazy. Sabotage? Damn i hope so. Can we really afford another war? Damn GWB. Damn him.

  26. It would be pretty easy to use a drone to drop a bomb on a timer next to some stored munitions and then have the explosives detonate the next time someone goes to do maintenance making it look like they had an accident?

    That’s the first thing I would think of if I was going to sabotage the place.

    Then again maybe the place doesn’t have any stored munitions so you have to gather intelligence on where there might be something flammable stored and then silently bomb that.

    Or they aren’t trying to hide the sabotage and just blowing up anything above ground as a in your face type of thing.

    • We can’t fly drones clandestinely into the country: as demonstrated by the RQ-170 that was brought down. If they take it apart and discover a lack of ISR equipment but bomb carrying hardware…

  27. maybe they want to disappear and cover some or many of their scientists so they will be safe to continue their work,,,,
    its a clever step guys…..

  28. Patrick Busche | December 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Reply

    Obviously the Iranian govt. is using heavy equipment in an effort to cover-up the damage to their nuclear processing site. They are doing their best to have all of the blast damage covered up by earth-moving machinery.

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