by: Ilse Strauss
Wednesday, 8 July 2020 | In the aftermath of yet another blast ripping through yet another sensitive Iranian site, Tehran is starting to lay the blame on Israel—and has called on world leaders to help quench the Jewish state’s alleged explosive streak.
The latest in the suspicious series of blasts occurred in the pre-dawn hours of yesterday morning at a factory south of Tehran. A local official was, however, quick to ascribe this incident to “human error,” telling the Islamic Republic Radio and Television News Agency that “the explosion that was caused by some workers’ negligent handling of oxygen tanks…was so powerful that the walls of a factory nearby were also totally destroyed.”
Despite Iran’s official version, the timing of the blast makes it suspicious.
In recent days, a series of disasters have struck a number of sites across Iran, with officials, analysts and international news outlets ascribing the acts to Israel sabotaging Tehran’s ambitions to develop nuclear weapons. On Saturday, a fire tore through a power plant after a transformer exploded, and hours later, a petrochemical center suffered a chlorine gas leak after a pipe in one of the tanks ruptured. Last Thursday, a suspicious explosion targeted Iran’s Natantz nuclear facility. And a week before that, a large blast tore through a military complex that defense experts say boasts an underground tunnel system and a missile manufacturing center.
A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that an Israeli jet struck the military complex. The New York Times and the Washington Post, quoting Middle East officials, said a large bomb planted by Israeli operatives caused the Natantz blast. The official told the Washington Post that Natantz blast required extensive knowledge of the Iranian nuclear program and thus served as a “wake-up call” to deter the powers-that-be in Tehran from forging ahead to fulfill its nuclear ambitions. For its part, Israeli television reports claim the Natantz explosion gutted the laboratory that develops advanced centrifuges to enrich the uranium required to develop nuclear weapons, pushing Tehran’s nuclear program back by up to two years.
While Iran initially attempted to downplay the Natantz blast, the atomic agency spokesman finally admitted the site suffered “considerable” damage after satellite pictures surfaced showing the largescale destruction.
Hours after yesterday morning’s explosion, Iran’s government spokesman Ali Rabiei seemed to publically admit that the Natanz explosion was no accident—and that Iran holds Israel responsible.
Speaking during a press conference, Rabiei also called on world powers to rally around Iran to protect it from tiny Israel. “The international community must respond and set limits to these dangerous actions by the Zionist regime.”
Jerusalem has largely remained mum on whether it master-minded the series of disasters that has the Iranians foaming at the mouth—and scampering for a defense. In fact, Defense Minister Benny Gantz seemed to brush off the notion that Israel can and is setting sensitive sites in Iran aflame at will.
“Some choose to be suspicious of us all the time,” he said during a radio interview on Sunday. “Yet not every incident that unfolds in Iran is connected to us.”
On the other hand, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear on multiple occasions that Israel will do whatever it takes to ensure that Iran does not go nuclear. Perhaps the series of disasters is the start of “whatever it takes,” a sliver of proof that Israel means business.
As the mysterious blasts continue to rip through Iran, it remains to be seen whether Tehran heads Israel’s wake-up call.
Posted on July 8, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 8, 2020)
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