Iran Followup: Parchin Nuke Plant Explosion Was Sabotage

April 24, 2015 – San Francisco, CA – – In early October, 2014 we briefly referenced an explosion which took place at Iran’s super-secret Parchin research plant, located approximately 20 m SE of Tehran [see, Israel Strikes? - Iran’s Parchin Nuke Site Spontaneously Explodes ].

Updating that report, we now believe that our initial judgment of the matter was correct, that the explosion was highly likely to have been the result of an Israeli sabotage operation rather than having been caused by the accidental breaching of a natural gas pipe line at the facility, the other operative theory.

Though variously sourced, the Times of Israel/AFP, the Iran/IAEA Project and Reuters have all presented information regarding that incident as well as how the plant functions within Iran’s nuke research infrastructure. [please reference, Blast At Suspect Iran Nuke Facility Was Caused By Foreign Country , Iran & IAEA, Jeffrey Heller, Israel says Iran used Parchin military site for testing nuclear detonation technology ]

“According to satellite images taken after the blast, Israeli researcher Ronen Solomon told the TV channel, the affected buildings were bunkers where work was being carried out on triggers to detonate nuclear devices.” [Times Israel]

“Little headway appeared to have been made on the IAEA’s most urgent request – access for its inspectors to the Parchin military site where the agency believes Iran has done explosives tests relevant for developing a nuclear weapons capability.” [Iran & IAEA]

Just a few days before the mysterious explosion Reuter’s reported the following:

Israel said on Wednesday that Iran has used its Parchin military base as the site for secret tests of technology that could be used only for detonating a nuclear weapon.”

Inspections by the IAEA of the Parchin site have been rebuffed by Iran since 2006, when very limited access was provided allowing the facility to run wide open for almost 10 years.

It’s believed that Parchin has been a key installation in Iran’s nuclear weapons program, tasked with developing the explosive “triggers” needed to detonate a weapon. Some of the research done at the plant is understood to have involved neutron initiators/activation , the only use for which would be in creating a nuke.

Iran responded to the attack by instructing its proxy army, Hezbollah, to retaliate against Israel, a move which indicates this was no accident.

“It was the Monday strike, the report further said, that prompted Iran to order Hezbollah to target an Israeli army patrol on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border the next day, in which two soldiers were injured.” [Times of Israel]

More technical information provides additional evidence pointing to an attack rather than a gas explosion. Initial reports claimed that the blast shattered windows 10-15 miles away from the site, half-way to Tehran. Reinforced brick and steel buildings were simply leveled within a wide radius.

This isn’t the typical signature of a combustion explosion such as would occur with natural gas.

A high explosive’s detonation is a very different and much more violent phenomenon. It generates a supersonic shock wave and an almost instantaneous rise in atmospheric pressure. This is how anti-tank projectiles work. The explosion sends a shockwave through the armor and in a process called “spalling” generates shards of high velocity, super hot bullet-like pieces of metal on the other side of the armor, which bounce around inside the vehicle usually killing the entire crew

In a natural gas explosion, there is localized damage of course but it’s nowhere near as extensive as that of an HE detonation. In large recent natural gas line explosions the blast radius is measured in hundreds of feet, not miles.

Again we must stress this is conjecture, but it seems to be the best explanation for the damage done to this key installation.