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TOPIC: Was There An Explosion At Fordow?

Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 27 Jan 2013 16:33 #705


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A few days ago, WorldNet Daily ran an article by Reza Khalili claiming that there had been an explosion at Iran's Fordow enrichment plant, destroying much of the plant and trapping 240 workers. WorldNet Daily and Khalili are particularly unreliable sources on Iran, so we've ignored it.

But today, Richard Silverstein says that a "highly-placed Israeli source" tells him that there was indeed an explosion at Fordow. Silverstein has been wrong before. Israel's Yediot Ahronot is also reporting the story with not much detail, but a splashy headline.

Meir Javedanfar links to a Times of Israel article reporting the reaction of Israel's Home Front Defense Minister to the WorldNet Daily report.

None of this constitutes a confirmation of the explosion, but the willingness of Israeli officials to talk about it seems to indicate that something is going on.

Feel free to add links as you find them.
Last Edit: 27 Jan 2013 16:37 by Cheryl. Reason: correct spelling of Javedanfar
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 27 Jan 2013 18:45 #706


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Die Welt seems to have a second source.
Last Edit: 27 Jan 2013 20:43 by Cheryl. Reason: no editing
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 27 Jan 2013 20:18 #707


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Thinking out loud: seismological stations might have picked up a blast, if there was one.
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 27 Jan 2013 21:28 #708


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Haaretz: Why people don't believe Reza Kahlili.

[This is behind a paywall. When I got the link, it wasn't. My apologies.]
Last Edit: 28 Jan 2013 13:02 by Cheryl. Reason: Added last sentence
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 28 Jan 2013 01:54 #709


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Jerusalem Post: The deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi was quoted by the IRNA as dismissing the report.

Iran would be likely to dismiss the report, whether it is true or false. But Fordow is under IAEA safeguards, with regular inspections. So, if the damage is as extensive as reported, the IAEA would learn about it on their next inspection. There may also be IAEA cameras inside Fordow, so the IAEA would have a good idea if the report is true or not.
Last Edit: 28 Jan 2013 01:56 by Cheryl. Reason: Added last sentence
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 28 Jan 2013 12:36 #710


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Reuters has been unable to verify reports since Friday of an explosion early last week at the underground Fordow bunker, near the religious city of Qom, that some Israeli and Western media have said caused significant damage.

It's looking more and more like the report of an explosion at Fordow is incorrect.

The original source of the story, Reza Kahlili, is known to be highly unreliable, on which see the Haaretz article.

Look at the supposedly confirmatory sources quoted:
Silverstein: "a highly-placed Israeli source"
Die Welt: "einem Iran-Experten mit Geheimdienstkontakten" [my translation: an Iran expert with contacts in the intelligence service. The Google translation seems to get it backwards, but my German is far from idiomatic.]
Times of London: "Israeli intelligence officials"

I didn't link the Times of London article earlier, because it's behind a paywall. But it's being cited by others.

All anonymous sources. At best, this is a weak way to offer confirmation. News protocol generally requires two independent sources to confirm a story. Given Kahlili's unreliability, I would expect two additional sources.

Two Israeli sources, the third ambiguous. Kahlili is connected with Israeli intelligence, so these sources are not independent.

Now we can shift to the question of why that report was floated and by whom. P5+1 talks with Iran were scheduled for this week. Silverstein's source implicates the United States in the putative explosion. Looks like whoever is responsible for the story might have wanted to disrupt the talks. And perhaps they have succeeded.
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 29 Jan 2013 00:12 #712


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At today's White House press briefing:
Q There were weekend reports of a very significant explosion at a nuclear facility in Iran -- Fordow; Fordow is the name of it, near Qom. And I wonder if you have anything that you can relay to us about what the U.S. government does or does not know about that. And also, there has been a glitch in trying to get the next P5-plus-1 talks with Iran, try to get it this month now, pushing into February. Is there anything new you want to tell us about the evaluation of the inability to get that process moved ahead?

MR. CARNEY: Sure. I appreciate both questions. On the first, we have no information to confirm the allegations in that report, and we do not believe the report is credible.

On the status --

Q -- of have an explosion of any kind?

MR. CARNEY: Correct, at the Fordow facility. We don't believe those are credible reports. We have no information that would confirm them and do not believe that those reports or that report is credible.
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 29 Jan 2013 15:34 #713


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Richard Silverstein considers what this might have been about.

As does Ali Gharib.

My guess is that Reza Kahlili got his story from wherever he gets his stories - Iranian groups in opposition to the government or his own very active imagination - and threw it out there. He was lucky this time and got a lot of clicks. As both Silverstein and Gharib point out, Israeli officials seem to think that going along with the story would be useful in some way - perhaps just to confuse the Iranians, who would have known what the situation was at Fordow.

The last couple of weeks have brought us scare stories about chemical weapons in Syria and now this about Fordow. Both were easily checkable. The chemical weapons story was from Josh Rogin, who many would consider a reliable reporter in a reliable publication, Foreign Policy. The Fordow story was from a clearly unreliable source.

As Silverstein notes (to his credit), it's easy to get caught up in the race for a scoop, and Iran's nuclear program provokes emotional reactions. Documents were leaked to Rogin. The leaker usually has an agenda, and a responsible reporter knows this and will check, but it appears that Rogin didn't.

Maybe I'm showing my nerdiness, but some of the technical facts - that the IAEA is monitoring Fordow, and the characteristics of nerve agents - aren't that hard to understand. It would seem to me that knowing those facts would have slowed down the rush to a scoop in both cases, but that's the nerd viewpoint, I guess.
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 29 Jan 2013 19:43 #714


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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 30 Jan 2013 18:06 #716


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No explosion, says the IAEA. They ought to know. They're on the ground there.
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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 30 Jan 2013 23:47 #717


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Re: Was There An Explosion At Fordow? 21 Mar 2013 03:24 #728


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Trying to pre-empt the hysteria...

Reza Khalili has another piece of science fiction out. This one talks about a secret site where nuclear weapons are assembled and mated to missiles. Plus laser isotope separation. Plus EMP!

Just keep the earlier comments on this thread in mind when you read about this.
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