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Conflicting reports of a recent explosion at Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility appear to have been put to rest.(This is an updated post)
Reza Kahlili originally reported for WND on the “blast”: “The blast shook facilities within a radius of three miles. Security forces have enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles, and the Tehran- Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast.”
Kahlili’s report said the Fordo nuclear facility was severely damaged in an explosion and up to 240 workers trapped inside.
Jay Carney then told reporters in a press conference, that the White House had no information on the report: “We [the U.S.] have no information to confirm the allegations in the report and we do not believe the report is credible. We don’t believe those are credible reports.”
Iran’s official news agency, said the same thing, with the IRNA, promptly denying the explosion, claiming the news was simply the result of the Western media-fuelled “propoganda machine.”
That might have ended the story there, but The Times of London’s Israel correspondent Sheera Frenkel also confirmed the incident through her own independent sources:
An explosion is believed to have damaged Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility, which is being used to enrich uranium, Israeli intelligence officials have told The Times. Sources in Tel Aviv said yesterday that they thought the explosion happened last week. The Israeli Government is investigating reports that it led to extensive structural damage and 200 workers had been trapped inside.
One Israeli official said: “We are still in the preliminary stages of understanding what happened and how significant it is.” He did not know, he added, if the explosion was “sabotage or accident”, and refused to comment on reports that Israeli aircraft were seen near the facility at the time of the explosion.
Clemens Wergin at Germany’s Die Welt also reported the event, that now appears to be untrue.
(Update 01/30) The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN agency tasked with inspecting and reporting on Iran’s nuclear programs, issued a statement today that it also has no indication of an explosion at Fordo.
After all the Monday speculation The Jerusalem Post reports today that the IAEA “suggested” it had been to Fordow since the most recent reports of an explosion and that all was quiet.
From The Jerusalem Post:
IAEA inspectors regularly visit Iranian nuclear sites, including the one at Fordow, and the UN agency suggested in its comment that they had been at the site after the reports in some Israeli and Western media of an explosion there.
“We understand that Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordow. This is consistent with our observations,” IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said.
The Post goes on to say that the remarks are unusual from the IAEA, which has yet to post the comment to their site. The Associated Press says Tudor made the remark to them January 29 and that his information comes from inspectors at Fordow.
International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Iran’s denial of “an incident” at the Fordo uranium enrichment plant is “consistent with our observations …
A diplomat familiar with the issue told AP that the IAEA’s information came directly from IAEA inspectors at Fordo. He demanded anonymity because he was not authorised to comment.
That would appear to put the debate to rest.
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