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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Was the target in Isfahan a senior nuclear scientist?

A report at YNet hints that the target of Monday's explosion in Isfahan may not have been the uranium enrichment plant (pictured) located near the town, but a nearby military academy and possibly more senior Iranian nuclear scientists. Meanwhile, the Iranians continue to deny that the explosion took place.
Iranian paper Farhang Ashti (Peace Culture) reported Monday that the explosion, which was initially reported by Iran's official news agency Fars, took place several streets away from the city's military academy, near the Shiraz Gate.

The report's credibility remained unclear.

Fars initially reported a loud blast at 2:40 pm local time, but removed the report shortly afterwards. Hours later, conflicting reports began to surface.

Iran's Mehr news agency mistakenly quoted the deputy governor of Isfahan province as saying that there was no report of a major explosion in the province – a quote given by him almost a year earlier, following a December 18, 2010 explosion in the city.

However, the news agency also quoted another Iranian media outlet as saying that a blast took place at a petrol station in a nearby town. Iran's uranium conversion plant is located just outside Isfahan – one of the country's largest cities.


Earlier on Monday, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that Majid Shahriari, who was assassinated last year in Iran, was the Islamic Republic's "most senior scientist." This is the first time an Iranian official has referred to Shahriari in such a manner in public.

In a radio interview, Salehi added that Shahriari, who was assassinated on November 29, 2010, was the only scientist able to produce enriched uranium at a 20% rate.

By the way, if you follow the links regarding Shahriari, you will see that at the time he was thought to be connected to the response team to Stuxnet.

And here's another curious fact: Until now, all the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists took place in Tehran. If Monday's explosion was meant to kill an Iranian nuclear scientist it is the first such killing to take place outside Tehran and may mean that Iran has decided to spread out its scientists like it spread out its nuclear facilities. And it also shows that spread out nuclear scientists can be hit anyway. Hmmm.

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