Media reports Sunday suggest a damaging explosion at Iran’s top-secret Fordow nuclear development site took place last week, leaving as many as 190 workers dead.
Following the blast, the main road from Qom to Tehran was closed for several hours, the German newspaper Die Welt reported. If the reports are to be believed, the explosion was perhaps the most serious blow against the Iranian nuclear program to date.
However, Fordow is only one of several key Iranian nuclear sites that contribute greatly to the widely-suspected weaponization of the Iranian nuclear program. Critical damage to the Fordow facility would slow down, but not end the Iranian nuclear program.
Fordow, one of Iran’s largest fuel-enrichment plants, is located in a fortified secret bunker buried outside the city of Qom. In violation of international agreements, Iran failed to declare the construction of the facility, and admitted to its existence only after it was exposed by Western intelligence. Iran also admitted to violating United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions by enriching uranium to 20 percent at Fordow. Enrichment of this kind is militarily significant as it enables an easy and quick shift to weapons-grade 90% enriched uranium in a matter of months.
The U.N. banned Iran from enriching uranium after the repeated failure by Tehran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog. The IAEA concluded “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”
The international community fears that a nuclear Iran would make the region even more volatile, and would continue to enable violence and terrorism throughout the world. As the leading sponsor of international terror, Iran, even without nuclear weapons, has supported attacks directly targeted at Americans and Israelis across the world.
Syria, as a satellite of Iranian-backed terror, has killed over 60,000 of its own citizens in its current civil war. Senior Iranian official Ali Akbar Velayati threatened that the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is a clear “red line”, declaring that “any foreign attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran.”
Reaffirming the Iranian commitment to the destruction of the “Zionist regime,” Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi reiterated Iran is “standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Sunday as the world marked international Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Iranians were continuing both to deny the Holocaust and pursue their goal of destroying the Jewish state. “They are not halting their unceasing and methodical race to obtain atomic weapons for the purpose of realizing this goal. We are not taking these threats lightly.”