Missile Blast Disrupted Research On New Iranian Weapon Designed To Counter Israel – OpEd


Earlier today, Iranian officials made two contradictory sets of statements about the blast at the missile base two days ago, which killed 17 IRG soldiers including the “father of the Iranian missile program.  Majlis speaker Lariani denied any Israeli involvement in the incident saying it was a “fiction” not even worth wasting time discussing.

An IRG official, while denying Israeli involvement, revealed that the weapon which Brig. Gen. Moghadam was testing, and which caused the explosion, was a new one specifically designed to counter the Israeli threat:

“The incident happened during a research program which could have become a severe punch on [the] Israeli regime’s mouth,” General Hassan Firouzabadi said…

ISNA news agency quoted the general as saying that due to the incident “the program was only temporarily stopped but would resume again soon.”

AFP reported the story with an important difference in nuance:

…The base was being used in the production of “an experimental product” being developed to unleash “a strong fist in the face” of the United States and Israel.

He did not elaborate, but said development of the military product had been delayed by “two weeks” because of the blast.

You tell me: if Lariani is right and Israel had nothing to do with it and it was an accident, why would the IRG feel the need to reveal anything about the nature of the incident or the research that was involved in it?  Why would they also pointedly note that the weapon was designed to counter an Israeli-U.S. threat?  Also, the Iranians have claimed officially that the explosion occurred when ammunition was being moved at the base.  If the testing of a new weapon (“experimental product”) was the actual cause, then this is a flat-out contradiction to the original.

Further, Iranian reports now concede that the number of dead was almost double what was reported originally.  There were funerals yesterday for 36 soldiers.  This too indicates a desire to conceal the full extent of the damage caused by the event.  There might be many reasons they would want to do so, but one might be to conceal from the enemy what was damaged and the extent of the damage caused by the sabotage.

One can speculate on the identity of the “research” in question that might cause Israel grief.  Iran is reported to be developing the latest version of the Shehab which, according to some reports, is the Shehab 4.  There are also reports that Iran is testing ways of adapting the Shehab so that it can carry a nuclear warhead.  Either of those might be candidates for weapons that might’ve been tested and which could’ve caused the disaster.

This article appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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