THE CLOCK IS TICKING: “Shadow War” Heating Up. War With Iran: A Provocation Away?
by Tom Burghardt
December 5, 2011
Amid conflicting reports that a huge explosion at Iran’s uranium conversion facility in Isfahan occurred last week, speculation was rife that Israel and the United States were stepping-up covert attacks against defense and nuclear installations.
The Isfahan complex transforms mined uranium into uranium fluoride gas which is then “spun” by centrifuges that enrich it into usable products for medical research and for Iran’s civilian nuclear energy program.
While Iranian officials sought to distance themselves from initial reporting by the semi-official Fars news agency that a “loud explosion” was heard across the city, but that “the sound of the explosion was from [a] military exercise,” has been contradicted by several sources.
Indeed, some Iranian officials have denied that an explosion even took place.
On Tuesday however, The Times reported that “satellite imagery … confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran.”
“The images,” Times reporter Sheera Frenkel averred, “clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction, negating Iranian claims yesterday that no such explosion had taken place. Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was ‘no doubt’ that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was ‘no accident’.”
Despite clear evidence that Israel and the United States have stepped-up their shadow war against the Islamic Republic, Defense Minister Ehud Barak “played down speculation on Saturday that Israel and U.S.-led allies were waging clandestine war on Iran, saying sanctions and the threat of military strikes were still the way to curb its nuclear program,” Reuters reported.
Proverbial “facts on the ground” however, tell a different tale.
The latest attack on Iran’s civilian nuclear program followed a blast two weeks ago at the sprawling Bid Ganeh missile base 25 miles west of Tehran.
That blast killed upwards of 30 members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including Major General Hassan Moqqadam, a senior leader of Iran’s missile program.