Monday, January 28, 2013

More Info On Fordow Nuke Facility Explosion - And Of A Possible Hezbollah Attack On Israel

As I reported yesterday, there definitely was an explosion at Iran's top secret nuclear enrichment plan at Fordow...and the jokes certain members of Israel's security apparatus were cracking after Avi Dichter's deadpan press remarks were apparently not without reason.

Iranian defector and ex-Revolutionary Guards commander Reza Khalili went into more detail in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, calling it the biggest act of sabotage in decades:

Speaking to the Post on Monday, Khalili expressed confidence that the alleged blast will receive "further coverage in the US," and that "more information" will become available to verify the incident.
"This is the center of the Iranian nuclear program. It's essential for the regime, its activities, and its nuclear program. If such a blow was given to Fordow, it definitely harms [Iran] drastically. They were reaching for 20 percent uranium enrichment, and were increasing output," he added.

Situated near the holy Shi'ite city of Qom, the existence of the Fordow enrichment plant, dug deep into a mountain, was kept secret by Iran, until it was discovered by Western intelligence in 2009, and the question of how long it had been in operation remains unanswered.

Kahlili, a pseudonym used to protect him from the Iranian regime, published A Time To Betray in 2010, in which he described a journey which took him from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards to being a CIA operative in the 1980s. He now resides in California, and says he is in touch with a number of insiders in the Iranian intelligence and security communities, as well as with the office of Iran's supreme leader.

Asked why satellite imagery was not being released of rescue efforts at Fordow, Kahlili said only state intelligence agencies have access to live satellite feeds. "Why don't they put it out? My only assumption is that no one wants to take credit because of what the consequences could be by the regime," he said. "This is a very sensitive time. I'm sure that soon, very soon, more information will leak out. Chatter will get loud enough to provide further information." Kahlili went on to say that the "first suspicion is Israel" within the Islamic Republic. "I have verified information that there was a meeting [called by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei. A decision was made to act in Lebanon. A request was made to [Hezbollah chief Hassan] Nasrallah to vacate southern Lebanese villages. Islamic Republic Guards are on their way there. A decision has been made to prepare for missile launch from a certain area in Lebanon against Israel," he said.

Khalili said one of the sources who initially leaked information of the blast came from within the security forces guarding Fordow, adding that precise information of the attack was not being released in order to protect the source. "The source has been collaborating for a long time," he said. A second source came from the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, he said, adding that it was very difficult to safely get information out of Iran.

Iranian authorities have not yet made any progress in their attempt to enter Fordow, Kahlili asserted, adding, "I fear there is radiation involved." Iran's defense ministry dispatched drilling vehicles, "the same they used to carve tunnels and create underground facilities, to see if they can make any headway in opening emergency exists, because they collapsed. Among those stuck in the facility are dozens of foreign nationals. These are contracted scientists," he said.

Kahlili said a second mysterious blast occurred in Tehran last week, at an IRGC base called "21 Hamza." "There are injuries, and there have been arrests of IRGC members who are being questioned. The Intelligence Ministry suspects sabotage," he added.

Even more to the point, without admitting any Israeli participation, Israeli intel sources have confirmed that the blast at Fordow occurred according to the London Times:

“We are still in the preliminary stages of understanding what happened and how significant it is,” one Israeli official told the London Times. He did not know if the explosion was “sabotage or accident” and refused to comment on reports that Israeli aircraft were seen near Fordo at the time of the blast.

The Iranians actually went to the trouble of issuing a formal denial, which doesn't explain the cordon around Fordos, the shaking of buildings as far away as three miles or the road closures between Qom and Tehran, which I was able to confirm independently.

And there appears to be a connection between the Fordow blast, Hezbollah and a possible strike against Israel.

Kahlili's interview with the Jerusalem Post (fourth paragraph) mentions that the Iranian regime blames Israel for the Fordow blast and has made a decision to order its proxy Hezbollah to launch a missile strike against Israel.

More confirmation of Kahlili's information in this regard is the redeploying of two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries by the Israelis on the Israel/Lebanon border.

Hezbollah has constructed camps near sites in Syria known to contain chemical weapons, obviously with an eye towards adding them to its arsenal as the Assad regime totters. Both the Obama Administration and Israel have stated that Hezbollah obtaining these WMD's would be a red line.

At the same time, Iran recently sent large amounts of troops and armor into Syria, publicly stating that an attack on its ally Assad was an attack on Iran.

It's quite possible that if Iran plans to strike at Israel, part of the conditions of increased Iranian help for Assad would be the release to Hezbollah of some of his WMD arsenal.

Is Hezbollah's Sheik Nasrallah really prepared to start another war with Israel? A missile strike, whether it involved WMDs or not would do that, and as I reported here before, this time, since Hezbollah essentially controls Lebanon's government, Israel would treat it as a war between Israel and Lebanon, not just Israel and Hezbollah.

It's hard to say. Hezbollah has still not totally recovered from the 2006 War with Israel, especially in terms of its political capital within Lebanon. And it is still pre-occupied with events in Syria, where its fighters are still engaged in combat with the Sunni insurgents. A war with Israel might be ill-advised, especially with Hamas still licking its wounds over the damage to its missile arsenal during Defensive Cloud last year.

But if Hezbollah's Iranian masters are playing the hand organ, the monkey's probably going to dance.

Stay tuned...

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