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Tags Current Affairs

Mysterious blasts in Iran

Date: 13 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A series of unexplained fires and explosions at several different geographically separated places in Iran since June 26 have given rise to fresh concerns for the stability of the volatile region.

 

Background

The most serious of these mysterious incidents was on July 2, at Natanz, where Iran’s main nuclear facility is located. Iran initially played down a fire and explosion at the nuclear enrichment plant.

 

Details

  • It is said to slow down the development of advanced centrifuges. The advanced equipment and precision measurement devices at the site were either destroyed or damaged.

  • The other incidents were an explosion at a liquid fuel production facility for ballistic missiles in Prachin near Tehran, and a fire at a power plant in Shiraz.

  • Many western analysts are of the view that the explosion in the Natanz site was an attack, caused either by a bomb or through a cyber attack. They also believe that there has been more severe damage at the facility than the Iranians are conceding so far.

  • The blasts occurred inside the centrifuge assembly centre, where Iran is said to be building its most advanced centrifuges to produce nuclear fuel in greater quantities and faster than its previously known capabilities.

  • The facility had been entirely destroyed, likely by a bomb, and that it would be years before Iran could resume its centrifuge project again. 

  • The Natanz and other incidents come at a time when the Iranian government is under attack from its new hardline parliament for letting the US get away with breaking up the nuclear deal, plus the killing by the US earlier this year of General Qasem Soleimani of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

  • The mystery attacks could also escalate tensions between Iran on the one hand and Israel and the US at a time when the presidential elections are crucially poised.

  • Some sections of media have said that Israel, with the knowledge and backing of the United States, has found a roundabout solution to the problem in light of Iran’s renewed progress with its nuclear program.

  • If indeed Israel is behind the attack, one view is that it wants to act quickly against Iran while it has a strong ally in Trump in the White House.

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