Satellite images show 'damage consistent with an attack' at Parchin, report says

After blast, Israel Defense website publishes photographs of Iranian military site reportedly used for trials on nuclear missile fuses.

October 9, 2014 02:13
3 minute read.

Satellite image shows a nuclear facility in Iran. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Satellite images taken of Iran’s Parchin military compound after a blast reportedly tore through it show “damage consistent with an attack” at the site, according to a report by the Israel Defense website.

According to the report by Ronen Solomon, the images form evidence that “refutes the denials of the Iranian government” and prove that the explosion at Parchin – which has been linked by Western intelligence to nuclear missile fuse trials – “indeed occurred inside the military compound.”

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The images “clearly show damage consistent with an attack against bunkers in a central locality within the military research complex at the Parchin military compound,” the report added.

The images show Parchin before and after the October 5 explosion, and expose significant damage to the site, with a number of structures missing in the photograph taken after the reported blast.

Israel Defense said the damage occurred at the center of the Parchin compound, “adjacent to another installation where, according to intelligence sources, the trials being conducted involve controlled detonation of fuses intended to serve as triggers for nuclear devices.”

It noted that a whole series of structures that look like bunkers disappeared after the blast, and that testing units were wiped “off the face of the Earth.” According to Israel Defense, the images were taken by the French Pleiades satellite on the morning of October 7.

The satellite captured what appear to be emergency response vehicles at the site.

On Thursday, a US security institute also said it located via satellite imagery a section of a sprawling Iranian military complex where it said an explosion or fire might have taken place earlier this week.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said it had obtained commercially available satellite imagery on which six buildings at Parchin appeared damaged or destroyed.

However, the images ISIS issued indicated the site of the possible blast was not the same location in Parchin where the UN nuclear agency suspects that Iran, possibly a decade ago, carried out explosives tests that could be relevant for developing a nuclear arms capability.

In Paris, a spokesman for an exiled Iranian opposition group said an explosion occurred late on Sunday in a chemical industry unit in Parchin that deals with the production of gunpowder and that at least four people were killed.

The dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002. But analysts say it has a mixed track record and a clear political agenda.

ISIS said its analysis of the satellite imagery from October 7 and 8 indicated an explosion could have taken place at a southern section of Parchin.

“Several signatures that coincide with those expected from an explosion site are visible here,” it said on its website. “Two buildings that were present in August 2014 are no longer there, while a third building appears to be severely damaged. In total at least six buildings appear damaged or destroyed,” ISIS added.

On Monday, the official Iranian IRNA news agency said the blast killed two employees on site. The agency quoted Iran’s Defense Industries Organization, which said a fire occurred Sunday night, killing two people. The agency did not provide additional information.

The semi-official ISNA news agency also reported that an explosion occurred at a military base near Tehran, killing two people.

“Unfortunately, two workers were killed,” the defense organization’s spokesman was quoted as saying.

The Saham opposition website reported that a huge explosion occurred at the large facility in Parchin, located 30 km. southeast of Tehran.

According to the report, the powerful explosion blew out the windows of buildings located up to 15 km.

away from the base, and eyewitnesses could observe the blast from a distance.

Parchin is a controversial military base where Israel and the International Atomic Energy Agency suspect the Islamic Republic is attempting to develop a nuclear explosive device.

IAEA inspectors have not been permitted to enter the site since 2005.

Yasser Okbi and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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