Did Mysterious Blast Target Iranian ‘Missile City’ Base?

Did Iran’s missile production effort take a hit last week? Former US Amb. to UN Nikki Haley showing Iranian-made weapons used in Middle East conflict. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of UNITED STATES MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS.

The covert war between Israel, the United States and Iran may have escalated yet again last week, as Iranian secrecy only makes suspicions grow that someone at least attempted to hit an Iranian military base. A sizable explosion erupted shortly after midnight on Friday, reportedly in an area near the Iranian city of Parchin—the same city home to a military base believed to have once held nuclear weapons-related explosive experiments. Its unclear where exactly last week’s blast occurred, what damage it did or who or what caused it.

The spokesman for Iran’s Ministry of Defense claimed the blast was a gas tank explosion near a base owned by the Defense Ministry, according a Google transaction of a report from the Iranian Tansim News Agency, citing an interview with the Khabar News Agency. The spokesman also told the Iranian Fars News Agency the explosion occurred in a non-residential area, and therefore there were no casualties. He noted the situation was under control.

However, the IntelliTimes, an Israel Intelligence Blog, claimed on Twitter that satellite imagery shows the blast actually took place at a different military facility that develops missiles. Iran analyst Meir Javendafar retweeted the IntelliTimes post, noting “It seems that #Iran authorities lied when they said last night’s explosion was at Parchin. Instead, it seems that the explosion was at another location in Eastern Tehran, where missiles are produced.”

Javendafar, in additional analysis on Twitter, speculated the blast may have targeted a once-covert missile base. “In January 2016, Iran unveiled its ‘missile city,’ whose location was top secret. It’s possible that the mysterious explosions in Tehran on Friday night targeted this base,” he tweeted.

The incident occurred just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned again that “whoever tries to attack us places himself in very great danger.”

“We are taking action against the efforts of our enemies to develop precision missiles in Syria, Lebanon and other areas,” said Netanyahu at an Air Force pilot graduation on Thursday in comments released by his office. “….We regard with utmost seriousness the threats of destruction against Israel by Iranian and pro-Iranian elements.”

Despite the interesting timing of Netanyahu’s rhetoric and the blast in Iran, Israelis on condition of anonymity told The New York Times that the explosion was not Israel’s doing. Israel often chooses not to take responsibility for incidents occurring in other countries.

And Israel isn’t the only country concerned with Iran’s missile activity. Friday’s explosion also occurred the same day that United States Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook visited the United Arab Emirates. According to a press release from the US State Department, Hook discussed with UAE officials the extending of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran, which is due to expire on October 18.

Hook “updated Emirati officials on diplomatic efforts to extend the embargo and they discussed the risk of an arms race in the region if the embargo is not renewed,” said the statement.

Hook’s discussion of regional security actually sounded similar to sentiments voiced by Netanyahu just one the day prior.

“Our struggle against Iranian aggression in the region is designed—first and foremost—to defend ourselves, to defend the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu. However, this struggle, this effort, serves the interest of stability in the entire region.”

 (By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 28, 2020)

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