Iran operates a uranium conversion plant near Isfahan, which has a major role in the nuclear weapons process. first went into operation in 2004, taking uranium from mines and producing uranium fluoride gas, which then feeds the centrifuges that enrich the uranium.
Since 2004 (thank you France) , thousands of tons of uranium flouride gas were stockpiled at Isfahan and subsequently sent to the enrichment plant in Natanz. Search and rescue teams called to the scene confirmed the blast, but as of yet no injuries have been reported.
Iran's uranium enrichment plant is located just outside the city of Isfahan – one of Iran's largest cities.
According to the FARS report, a security official confirmed that the explosion had occurred, but refused to give further details. The district's security department head Muhammad Mahdi Ismaili said "we have no exact information; the incident is being investigated.
Earlier today, Israeli military intelligence commented on the last Iranian explosion, the one two weeks ago which destroyed a missile technology production site at a military base in Tehran which killed one of Iran's missile project heads.
"The blast in the site where surface-to-surface missiles were developed can delay or bring to a complete halt the production of the missiles at that site," said head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence Research Section Department Brigadier General Itai baron at a briefing in the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
"However," Baron cautioned, "It must be emphasized that Iran has other development sites other than the one that was destroyed."It will be interesting to see if this explosion (and the one two weeks ago) is the result of Iranian incompetence, bad luck, or some outside source.
More to come.
Update 1: Mmmmm..
Elder of Zion Adds
A BBC reporter tweets his father in Isfahan heard the explosion.
A Second Iranian news source confirms it, unclear if it was 2:40 AM or PM. Make that three.
Iranian tweeters are all saying it was either an arms depot or an ammunition depot.
Isfahan's governor is now claiming that it was from a "military exercise."
Update #3 5:30pm EST.
Since the news broke earlier today, the Iranians have been tripping over their underwear trying to explain away the explosion, offering excuses such as it was a military exercise, a gas station blew up and of course the all-purpose "it never happened."
The British paper the Telegraph is certain that it was sabotage, and it was caused by the Jooose.
Residents of the city were independently telling relatives and friends overseas that the city had been shaken by a massive blast in the early afternoon.If it was Mossad or any other Israeli organization, we will never know for sure, Israel does not confirm this kind of information pro or con.
The reports immediately prompted speculation that Iran had suffered another sabotage attack, just two weeks after a blast at a missile base gave rise to similar suspicions.
Military analysts however said the intensity of the explosion suggested a targeted attempt at sabotaging Iran's nuclear-related missile development programme, most probably carried out by Mossad.
As for what exactly exploded and how bad--that will take a few hours or even days. Stay tuned, will update this page throughout the night.
Aaron Klein reports that there has been reports of unusual movement of Israeli missiles. Could it be that Israel is expecting reprisals for some kind of action it has, or is about to take?
Multiple eyewitnesses reported seeing Israeli military trucks in recent days transport and station large missiles at the periphery of Jerusalem and in locations inside the West Bank.
The descriptions of the projectiles are consistent with the Jewish state’s mid-to-long range Jericho ballistic missiles.
The missile movement, if confirmed, would be considered unusual.
One of the eyewitnesses was a member of the Palestinian Authority security services. He claimed to me that a large missile was stationed five days ago near Neve Yaacov, a Jewish neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem. That neighborhood is adjacent to several Palestinian-inhabited towns.
Four other eyewitnesses, Israeli and Palestinian, reported seeing similar sights during the past week – large missiles being transported by the Israeli military at the periphery of Jerusalem and in the West Bank.There is much more to this important article, Aaron's full report has many more details-Click Here for the full story
UPDATE #5 ---7:48 AM Tuesday
UPI is reporting that Iran's semi-official Fars news agency has retracted a report of an explosion in Isfahan, home to Iran's uranium conversion facility. (an obvious lie)
Sorry guys too many people have texted, tweeted, facebooked and in other ways reported that they heard the explosions. The Iranian government has given too many excuses regarding what happened. It is too late to put that cat back in the bag.