Yet another strange and unexplained explosion has rocked central Iran on Sunday, state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Sunday. The explosion occurred at a power station in the city of Islamabad, which is in the central province of Isfahan.
Iranian officials blamed faulty equipment, and no casualties were reported.
A “worn out transformer… at Isfahan’s Islamabad thermal power plant exploded at around 5:00 am today,” the managing director of Isfahan’s electricity company Said Mohseni told IRNA.
The facility returned to normal working conditions after about two hours and Isfahan’s power supply was uninterrupted, he added.
The blaze was the result of an explosion of 230 KV power transformer at a substation of the power plant, said the provincial electric company, blaming “wear and tear on the transformer.”
The substation returned to normal operations within two hours and the damaged equipment was being repaired and replaced, plant officials said.
The power plant was constructed about 50 years ago, and provides electricity to the main city of Isfahan, with capacity to generate around 500 MW of electricity.
Separately on Sunday, a cellophane factory in northwest Iran erupted in fire. Video and images showed a huge cloud of smoke billowing from the site through the day as fire fighters struggled to put it out.
Iran’s civil defence organization chief, Ghulam Reza Jalali, was cited in state media as saying Iran is not ruling out sabotage on the power plant either by internal opposition groups or externally supported entities.
Last week, an explosion occurred at a chemical plant in the Razavi Khorasan Province in eastern Iran on 13 July. The blast allegedly occurred at a gas condensate plant in the Kavian Fariman industrial zone in the Razavi Khorasan Province in eastern Iran. The explosion was caused by a fire which broke out at one of the gas tanks.
On 15 July a fire damaged at least seven vessels at a shipyard in the southern Iranian port city of Bushehr, according to state media. The blaze started Wednesday afternoon local time, crisis management official Jahangir Dehghani said. The cause of the fire is still unknown. There were no reports of victims, according to Iran’s state news agency IRNA. LINK
At this point, the spate of ‘mystery’ blasts and fires which has damaged key military, nuclear, and industrial sites across Iran is approaching a dozen in the past month.
The most damaging of the spate of recent fires and explosions occurred earlier this month when an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site was destroyed in a mysterious fire which is increasingly being blamed on Israeli or US intelligence.
Some mainstream media outlets are also increasingly laying blame on an Israeli Mossad sabotage campaign, especially prior to the US presidential election, given concern that if Joe Biden takes the White House, Israel will be pressured to stop such sabotage campaigns that could provoke a catastrophic war.
“Israel has long targeted nuclear programs in the Middle East in secret, open, and openly secret ways,” writes Vox. “Simply put, officials in Jerusalem worry Iran could more credibly threaten Israel’s existence if it had a nuclear weapon.” LINK
The report by Vox further noted:
“when it became clear two of the recent explosions in Iran happened at a missile site (Khojir) and a key uranium enrichment facility (Natanz), all eyes turned to Israel as the likely culprit.
“Israel as well as the US have a clear interest in stopping, or at least disrupting, Iran’s weapons production capability, and in particular nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles,” retired Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. Raphael Ofek, who served in Israeli military intelligence and in the prime minister’s office, told me…
Israeli officials see the persistent thwarting of Iranian intentions, especially after the 2006 conflict, as the “war between the wars.”
As Shapiro, the former American ambassador to Israel, explained it to me, the concept “reflects the Israeli philosophical approach to buy time and maybe indefinitely push off future wars — and if they occur, to make them as short as possible.” Following this strategy allows Israel to increase its own capabilities, gather intelligence, and gain a greater military advantage against Iran over time.
Degrading Iran’s nuclear and missile program via covert means fits within this framework. Jerusalem is able to keep Tehran from gaining power at minimal expense and without much public fuss, thereby lowering Iran’s confidence it could defeat Israel in a war, should one break out…
What Israel may have done “is a slight escalation, but it’s not really that surprising and not really uncharacteristic of what you’ve seen in the recent history,” Ilan Goldenberg, the Defense Department’s Iran team chief from 2009 to 2012, told me. “All these activities are being done in a way that makes it hard for Iran to retaliate, and gives them space to not retaliate.”
“The Iranians don’t want this to spiral,” the RAND Corporation’s Kaye told me, “but the longer this persists, the harder it will be for Iran to pretend this isn’t happening.” LINK
Early on Sunday (19 July) Press TV reported that Tehran’s UN Mission has denounced a Bloomberg article that praised the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and encouraged sabotage in the country’s infrastructure.
Alireza Miryousefi, minister and head of media office of Iran’s Mission to the UN, was responding to a Bloomberg opinion column written by Eli Lake titled, “Sabotage in Iran Is Preferable to a Deal With Iran”.
In his response, which was published by the US news outlet, Miryousefi said Lake’s column is “one that against all journalistic standards encourages violence, terror and sabotage, and makes a number of factual errors and assumptions.”
He further commented that “praising the illegal assassination of nuclear scientists and encouraging sabotage in Iran’s infrastructures amounts to what are inhumane, barbaric acts that promote violence and terrorism. Such measures do nothing less than keeping tensions high, and could ignite a full range escalation.”
Lake’s article argued that recent incidents in Iran, among them the one at Natanz nuclear facility, showed that there were better ways to frustrate what he called the “nuclear ambitions” of the Islamic Republic.
Iran has not officially declared whether the incident at the Natanz complex was an accident or an act of sabotage, but the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said the main cause has been determined and will be announced at an appropriate time.
Some reports suggested Tel Aviv’s alleged role, but Israeli officials neither confirmed nor denied the regime’s involvement.
Iranian officials have responded saying much of the speculation linking the incident to Israel is nothing but bluster which pleases Israeli leaders and serves their interests, at the same time however warning Tel Aviv of serious consequences if there is evidence of their involvement in any of the incidents. LINK
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