IAEA: No Evidence of Explosion at Fordow
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, said on Tuesday that there has been no sign of an explosion at the Fordow uranium enrichment plant in Iran.
“We understand that Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordow,” IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said. “This is consistent with our observations.”
On Friday, the American WND website reported that an explosion had occurred deep within Fordow, which is carved into a mountain.
According to the report, the explosion which took place last Monday destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground. The plant contains at least 2,700 centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
Iran denied the reports of the blasts on Sunday, claiming they were nothing but “Western-made propaganda,” according to the Iranian-based IRNA news agency.
On Monday, the United States said it does not believe reports about the Fordow explosion, saying they were not credible.
An Israeli intelligence source confirmed on Monday that the Fordow facility sustained major damage in a “mega explosion”.
“We’re still in the early stages of trying to comprehend what happened and the extend of its significance,” the unidentified source told the British Times, adding that it was not yet known whether the explosion was “an act of sabotage or incidental.”
The official declined to reveal whether Israeli aircraft had been in the vicinity at the time of the explosion.
On Tuesday, an Iranian defector confirmed that there was an explosion at the Fordow nuclear facility, telling Army Radio, "It was a big blast and because the facility is built under a stone mountain, it is very difficult to get to the workers who are trapped there. All the elevators and emergency staircases collapsed."
Iran admitted in the past it was moving more centrifuge machines for enriching uranium to the Fordow facility.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon, when asked during an interview with Army Radio on Monday morning whether the explosion had indeed occurred, would only respond with, “I read about it in the newspaper.”
Political analysts who were interviewed after Yaalon speculated that his response was a confirmation that such an explosion had indeed taken place.