Mystery surrounds deadly blast at Iran ammunition depot
Iranian authorities are downplaying Saturday's explosion, which killed 15 soldiers. They are ruling out sabotage or any connection to Iran's nuclear program.
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Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Thursday that any attack against Iran would be met with a "strong slap and iron fists."Skip to next paragraph
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As Israel test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile a week ago – the first such test since 2008 of the Jericho III, which has a range at least three times that of any target in Iran – Iranian lawmakers made clear the result if Iran were targeted.
"Iran has the capability to annihilate the Zionist regime forever, if attacked," parliamentarian Hossein Farhangi told Fars News.
That battle would extend "with maximum might and power all throughout the European and US soil, if Iran comes under attack," Seyed Hossein Naqavi, a member of parliament's security commission, told Fars News.
Speculation surrounding Iran opposition group's claims
Speculation about the reasons behind the Saturday blast was fueled by claims from an Iranian opposition group that it occurred at an IRGC missile base, and not a conventional weapons depot.
The Mojahedin-e Khalq (the MEK aka MKO) claimed that the blast at the Modarres Garrison "resulted from the explosion of IRGC missiles," according to an e-mail communication with the Associated Press from Alireza Jafarzadeh, an MEK spokesman in Washington until it the group was put on the US State Department's terrorism list.
Mr. Jafarzadeh in 2002 announced the existence of undeclared Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, using data widely believed to have come from Israel. Since the MEK was put on the US State Department's terrorist list, Jafarzadeh has been an "Iran analyst" on Fox News and lobbied in Washington to have the MEK taken off the terror list.
UN weapons inspectors say much of the data passed to it by the MEK over the last decade has proven inaccurate.
A detailed 150-page dossier on Iran's ballistic missile capabilities produced in May 2010 by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London makes no mention of any missile-related facility at Bidganeh or Malard, nor of the "Modarres Garrison."
It does, however, describe a Sajjid Base near Karaj – north of the location of Saturday's explosion – where Iran's 19th Zolfaqar Missile Brigade reportedly deploys 125-mile range Zelzal "Earthquake" rockets. The source cited for that 2002 information, however, was the MEK.