The explosion earlier this week that Iran said was at a uranium enrichment site actually damaged a nuclear plant and was far from accidental, The London Times reported Wednesday.
The newspaper quoted Israeli intelligence officials as saying that satellite photos revealed extensive damage from the explosion at Isfahan, near Tehran. The Israeli sources, so far unconfirmed, added that smoke was seen pouring out from a conversion plant and that it was clear that the blast was not accidental.
The government-controlled Fars News Agency had claimed that the explosion was caused by a military exercise, after having initially denied any incident took place.
Two week ago, an explosion at a military base that killed a top general and 16 others also resulted in extensive damage, according to published satellite images.
The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security told The New York Times, “It was pretty amazing to see that the entire facility was destroyed. There were only a few buildings left standing.”
The institute’s report author Paul Brannan added that his sources indicated the explosion occurred during work that was supposed to be “a major milestone in the development of a new missile.”
One of the casualties was Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, founder of Iran’s missile program, and the explosion appeared to take place at a missile base.