Iran Denies Reports of Explosion at Underground Nuclear Facility
Iran has denied reports that surfaced over the weekend about an explosion at its at its underground Fordow nuclear plant.
According to a report in the Iranian IRNA news agency, the deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi, said on Sunday that that there has been no explosion whatsoever in the Fordow nuclear facility.
The chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said that the reports of the blast were nothing but “Western-made propaganda,” according to IRNA.
On Friday, the American WND website reported that an explosion had occurred deep within Fordow.
According to the report, the explosion which took place last Monday destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground.
The report of the blast was passed on to WND by Hamidreza Zakeri, formerly with the Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security.
Zakeri said that the blast shook facilities within a radius of three miles. Security forces enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles, and the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast, the source said.
Iran admitted in the past it was moving more centrifuge machines for enriching uranium to the underground Fordow facility, which is carved into a mountain to protect it against possible attacks.
The existence of the facility near Qom only came to light after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009. The UN’s nuclear watchdog has already confirmed that Iran begun enriching uranium at the plant.
Israeli officials on Sunday said they did not know whether there was any truth to the reports on the explosion. The reports came after Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the United States has plans for surgical strikes against Iran as a last-ditch measure if Tehran refuses to stop its development of a nuclear weapons capability.
Barak, who spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said, “The Pentagon prepared quite sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels. So it is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block Iran. You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst, end up with a surgical operation.”