'Mossad behind blast that killed Iran missile chief'

Western intel official tells 'TIME' that Mossad was behind missile base blast; Khamenei appears at officer's funeral.

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November 15, 2011 00:36
2 minute read.
Coffin of Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander

Coffin of Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Jamejam Online/Ebrahim Norouzi)

 
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The Mossad was behind the explosion on Saturday that killed 17 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, including Gen. Hassan Moghadam, the officer responsible for the development of some of Iran’s most advanced ballistic missiles, Time magazine reported Monday.

Israel has not issued an official comment on the incident except for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who on Sunday said he would like to see more explosions in Iran. Government officials criticized Barak on Monday and said that like other cabinet ministers, he had been asked to tone down the chatter on Iran.

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Last week, Barak also broke with government policy, and in an interview with Israel Radio spoke about the International Atomic Energy Agency report released on Tuesday and the fallout Israel would face if it attacked the Islamic Republic. Israeli government policy has been to stay quiet on the issue, to prevent the world from thinking the nuclear threat is just against Israel.

“We need to remain quiet,” one official said.

Time cited a Western intelligence source as saying the Mossad was behind the explosion at the Iranian base on Saturday.

“Don’t believe the Iranians that it was an accident,” the official said.



According to the magazine, the unnamed official also said additional acts of sabotage were in the works as part of an effort to stop the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

“There are more bullets in the magazine,” the source was quoted as saying.

The cause of the explosion was unknown and Iran claimed it occurred when soldiers were moving explosives between bases. Barak, interviewed by Army Radio on Sunday, said he did not have details except that there had been an explosion. “May there be more like it,” he added.

Israeli involvement in such an operation would seem unlikely due to the difficulty it would encounter in infiltrating a military base like the one where the explosion took place, and which is believed to be home to Iran’s Shahab long-range ballistic missiles.

It is possible the Mossad, or another Western intelligence agency, used a proxy to carry out the attack. Israel and the US have been accused over the years of working together with various Iranian opposition groups such as the People’s Mujahidin Organization of Iran, otherwise known as MEK.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attended the funerals of Moghadam and the 16 other Revolutionary Guards who died in Saturday’s explosion.

“Martyr Moghadam was the main architect of the Revolutionary Guards’ cannon and missile power and the founder of the deterrent power of our country,” Hossein Salami, the deputy head of the Guards, said in a eulogy at the funeral, state broadcaster IRIB reported.

A veteran of the 1980-88 Iran- Iraq War, Moghadam’s importance was underlined by the appearance of Khamenei at his funeral and a personal visit to his family by Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi to convey President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s condolences.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat

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