web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Iran: On the conflicting reports on new blast near Esfahan

Esfahan_SatelliteImagery_23March2006_TunnelEntrances

Share Button

Local officials are offering different explanations for the blast that rocked Esfahan (also spelled Isfahan) a few hours ago. It will be some time before there is enough information to make a good assessment, but a few things can be said now.

First, although the probable location of the explosion hasn’t been clarified, comments from the provincial governor suggest that it was on the east side of the city. The governor claimed that the blast resulted from a military training exercise at the air base co-located with the Esfahan International Airport, which is situated on the east side of the city. Presumably his comments, whether true or not, were intended to offer an explanation consistent with the local inhabitants’ experience of the blast.

The Esfahan nuclear compound is located east of the metro area, but there are good reasons to doubt that the uranium conversion facility – the main operational component of the Iranian nuclear network in Esfahan – was being targeted. The UCF converts yellowcake to usable forms of uranium, including uranium hexafluoride, or UF6, the compound that is then enriched up the road at Natanz. Causing a big explosion at the UCF would risk releasing the UF6 into the atmosphere, and creating some amount of hydrofluoric acid, a toxic compound that forms when UF6 comes in contact with humidity in the ambient air. It takes a lot of UF6 to generate widespread contamination, but that’s what the UCF at Esfahan has: a lot of UF6.

We can discount the possibility that a foreign agency would deliberately cause an explosion that could rupture UF6 containment at Esfahan, short of an in-extremis situation.

Of equal importance is the fact that this facility is not a high priority for a set of limited attacks. Iran already has enough enriched uranium for several nuclear warheads; attacking the Esfahan UCF doesn’t buy time against weaponization. I very much doubt the UCF was attacked, and it is very unlikely that it suffered an accidental explosion. (The UF6 stored there could not have caused a blast like the one reported.)

We will know more when there is new, post-blast satellite imagery of the area (like that of the missile base west of Tehran where there was another explosion earlier this month). At that point, it will probably be clear whether there was an explosion at a military facility. If there was a blast east of the city, it could have occurred at one of several sites, most of which are bases for conventional forces (armor, artillery, and air forces). (For more on the sites, Arkenstone has a nice presentation.)

One thing these sites have in common is that they store lots of fuel. A blast of the size reported, which was heard in several places throughout Esfahan and broke windows in some (unspecified) areas of it, was probably caused by a fuel depot explosion. Michael Ledeen reported, after the earlier blast at Bigdaneh, that the major explosion there was induced in the fuel repository by a smaller, prior explosion. That accords with the effects reported from the blast by inhabitants of Tehran and its western suburbs.

Ledeen characterizes the series of recent explosions in Iran as a “war against the mullahs,” and at this point, that explanation has more going for it than the supposition that Iran’s nuclear weapons program is being attacked. The attacks – if that’s what they are – appear poorly designed, if the targets are components of the nuclear program.

At this point in Iran’s progress, the highest-value point of the process to be targeted is the weaponization effort: making a nuclear device work, and mating it with a delivery platform. The explosions so far appear almost random, rather than orchestrated to effectively interdict the nuclear weapons program. Michael Ledeen’s explanation, that internal insurgents have been attacking the Revolutionary Guards, accords better with the known facts. He also points to earlier attacks on refineries and pipelines, which, in terms of the explosive agent leveraged, suggests a concerted effort to produce a lot of disruptive explosions around the country, using the handiest materials out there.

We’ll probably have to wait to view the after-effects in the Esfahan area to be sure what happened there today. A blast of the reported size can’t be made, within a few days, to look as if it never even happened – not even by Service Pro.

This article first appeared in HotAir.

Share Button

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Iran: On the conflicting reports on new blast near Esfahan”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Senator Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz (R-TX).

It would be so catastrophic to not increase the debt ceiling that Senators must have the option of avoiding the people’s scrutiny.

Rouhani-stranglovebombride

Iran could produce enough high-enriched uranium (HEU) for a first nuclear warhead in as little as two weeks.

We are in uncharted territory today. The answers for the GOP going forward may not be found in the events of the past.

Each and every permutation of artificial “fertility” will wind up in court at some point.

He gets that we can’t just sit still, paralyzed by bad press and Democratic talking points.

Obama’s supporters in the media (and no doubt in Hollywood, politics, and the academy) see a light at the end of this tunnel…

I’m skeptical that we have any intention of taking action against Syria – even punitive action, with no view to an outcome or end-state.

Liberty always – always – has to be deliberately established and hedged about with protections.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/iran-on-the-conflicting-reports-on-new-blast-near-esfahan/2011/11/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: