Iran exile group claims blast near Tehran hit closely guarded missile base
November 12, 2011
Foreign Affairs Analyst and Iran Expert
By Associated Press, Published: November 12. 2011
WASHINGTON ó An Iranian exile group claimed Saturday that a blast near Tehran hit a missile base run by Iranís Revolutionary Guard Corps, disputing the Iranian governmentís account that it occurred at an ammunition depot.
Former Mujahedin-e Khalq spokesman Alireza Jafarzadeh, citing what he called reliable sources inside Iran, said that the explosion hit the Modarres Garrison of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps west of Tehran. The group, also known as the MEK, has in the past disclosed the sites of several key Iranian nuclear installations as well as details of their operations.
Jafarzadeh, now an author and commentator critical of Tehranís clerical regime, said the Modarres Garrison belongs to the IGRCís missile unit and the blasts ďresulted from the explosion of IRGC missiles.Ē He did not say what triggered the explosion.
The blast comes just days after a new report by the U.N.ís nuclear watchdog agency that Iran is conducting nuclear weapons-related research and follows unconfirmed reports that Israel was considering a military strike on Tehranís nuclear program.
Iranian officials said the blast was accidental and happened when soldiers were moving ammunition at a depot west of Tehran. Officials said 17 soldiers were killed.
Iranís gas pipelines and military installations have been hit by several mysterious blasts in recent years, and Tehran has accused the West of engaging in a campaign of sabotage and assassination against the regime. But an Iranian lawmaker Saturday ruled out sabotage at the blast site.
Jafarzadeh has revealed Iran's terrorist network in Iraq and its terror training camps since 2003. He first disclosed the existence of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy water facility in August 2002.