tstorm.png
Friday July 10th, 2020 5:11PM

Satellite image: Iran blast was near suspected missile site

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An explosion that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites, satellite photographs showed Saturday.

What exploded in the incident early Friday that sent a massive fireball into the sky near Tehran remains unclear, as does the cause of the blast.

The unusual response of the Iranian government in the aftermath of the explosion, however, underscores the sensitive nature of an area near where international inspectors believe the Islamic Republic conducted high-explosive tests two decades ago for nuclear weapon triggers.

The blast shook homes, rattled windows and lit up the horizon early Friday in the Alborz Mountains. State TV later aired a segment from what it described as the site of the blast.

One of its journalists stood in front of what appeared to be large, blackened gas cylinders, though the camera remained tightly focused and did not show anything else around the site. Defense Ministry spokesman Davood Abdi blamed the blast on a leaking gas he did not identify and said no one was killed in the explosion.

Abdi described the site as a “public area,” raising the question of why military officials and not civilian firefighters would be in charge. The state TV report did not answer that.

Satellite photos of the area, some 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) east of downtown Tehran, showed hundreds of meters (yards) of charred scrubland not seen in images of the area taken in the weeks ahead of the incident. The building near the char marks resembled the facility seen in the state TV footage.

The gas storage area sits near what analysts describe as Iran's Khojir missile facility. The explosion appears to have struck a facility for the Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group, which makes solid-propellant rockets, said Fabian Hinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies identified Khojir as the “site of numerous tunnels, some suspected of use for arms assembly.” Large industrial buildings at the site visible from satellite photographs also suggest missile assembly being conducted there.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency says Iran overall has the largest underground facility program in the Middle East.

Such sites “support most facets of Tehran’s ballistic missile capabilities, including the operational force and the missile development and production program,” the DIA said in 2019.

Iranian officials themselves also identified the site as being in Parchin, home to a military base where the International Atomic Energy Agency previously said it suspects Iran conducted tests of explosive triggers that could be used in nuclear weapons. Iran long has denied seeking nuclear weapons, though the IAEA previously said Iran had done work in “support of a possible military dimension to its nuclear program” that largely halted in late 2003.

Western concerns over the Iranian atomic program led to sanctions and eventually to Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The U.S. under President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord in May 2018, leading to a series of escalating attacks between Iran and the U.S. and Tehran abandoning the deal's production limits.

Iran's missile and space programs have suffered a series of explosions in recent years. The most notable came in 2011, when a blast at a missile base near Tehran killed Revolutionary Guard commander Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, who led the paramilitary force's missile program, and 16 others. Initially, authorities described the blast as an accident, though a former prisoner later said the Guard interrogated him on suspicion Israel caused the explosion.

___

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Satellite image: Iran blast was near suspected missile site
Satellite photos show an explosion that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites
6:19PM ( 22 minutes ago )
The Latest: Man City will give Liverpool guard of honor
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says they will form a guard of honor for new English Premier League champion Liverpool when they meet next Thursday
6:15PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Brazen ambush of Mexico police chief leaves few options
The dramatic assassination attempt on Mexico City’s police chief was just the latest and clearest sign that Mexico’s powerful criminal element is bringing the violence it has unleashed on the general population directly to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s door
6:14PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Mississippi moves to strip Confederate image from its flag
Mississippi lawmakers are taking steps to erase the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag
4:22PM ( 2 hours ago )
Mississippi gov: I'd sign bill to remove flag's rebel emblem
Mississippi lawmakers are taking steps to erase the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag
3:24PM ( 3 hours ago )
Princeton to remove Wilson name from public policy school
Princeton University has announced plans to remove the name of former President Woodrow Wilson from its public policy school because of his segregationist views, reversing a decision the Ivy League school made four years ago to retain the name
3:09PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Young novice protest leaders help drive US wave of dissent
Young organizers are helping drive the outpouring of protest against racism and police brutality around the U.S.  Many have grown up seeing videos about deaths of people of color at the hands of police
11:14AM ( 7 hours ago )
Virus visitor bans renew interest in nursing home cameras
Visitation bans at nursing homes across the country have sparked renewed interest in legislation to allow cameras inside nursing home rooms
10:47AM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: German leader urges caution as economy opens
German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned Saturday that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, as regional outbreaks gave rise to fears of a second wave
9:57AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Brazil agrees to help produce COVID-19 vaccine
The Brazilian government has announced an agreement with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce a promising coronavirus vaccine that is undergoing tests
4:15PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Arizona hospitals brace for COVID-19 case uptick
Some Arizona hospitals have begun activating surge plans to increase their capacity to treat coronavirus patients as confirmed cases rise and more people seek treatment
3:01PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: VP Pence calls off campaign bus tour of Florida
Vice President Mike Pence is calling off a planned bus tour in Florida to benefit his and President Donald Trump’s re-election as the state experiences a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases
2:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Ethiopia says set to begin filling disputed dam in 2 weeks
Ethiopia says it is set to begin filling a $4.6 billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile within the next two weeks and that construction will continue, hours after the leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed to return to talks aimed at reaching an accord over its operation
6:18AM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Flight departs UK to deliver virus aid to Africa
Britain’s Royal Air Force says the first in a series of flights taking coronavirus aid to Africa has departed for Ghana with materials for a field hospital with capacity for nearly 100 people
5:54AM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Pakistan imposes record increase in fuel prices
Pakistan has announced a record increase in fuel prices days before the end of a fiscal year in which the country’s economy contracted for the first time in 68 years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic
5:26AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Stocks sink on Wall Street as new daily virus cases surge
Stocks are down sharply on Wall Street as the number of confirmed new coronavirus cases in the U.S. hit an all-time high, stoking worries among investors that the reopening of businesses they are banking on to revive the economy will be derailed
2:35PM ( 1 day ago )
Banks lead stocks lower after the Fed caps their dividends
Stocks are moving lower on Wall Street, led by declines in banks after regulators told them they had to cap their dividends and halt stock buybacks in order to shore up their defenses in case the recession gets worse
12:58PM ( 1 day ago )
5 Things to Know for Today
Here are a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
6:12AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
The Latest: Man City will give Liverpool guard of honor
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says they will form a guard of honor for new English Premier League champion Liverpool when they meet next Thursday
6:15PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Brazen ambush of Mexico police chief leaves few options
The dramatic assassination attempt on Mexico City’s police chief was just the latest and clearest sign that Mexico’s powerful criminal element is bringing the violence it has unleashed on the general population directly to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s door
6:14PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Opposition wins historic rerun of Malawi's presidential vote
The opposition has won Malawi’s historic rerun of the presidential election
5:50PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Mississippi takes step toward dropping rebel image from flag
Mississippi lawmakers are close to erasing the Confederate battle emblem from the 126-year-old state flag
5:48PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Pence cancels some political events because of virus spikes
Vice President Mike Pence has called off campaign events in Florida and Arizona for this coming week as the states experience a surge in new coronavirus cases
5:46PM ( 56 minutes ago )