North Koreans among 40 dead at Iran nuke plant

The explosions at Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility Jan. 21 killed at least 40 people, including two North Koreans, WND learned Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Islamic regime is labeling WND a “mouthpiece of the CIA” for its exclusive reporting of the blasts.

The bodies of 11 of the technicians and scientists are beyond recognition, a member of the security forces at the facility told WND. According to this source, 60 others are in critical condition and have been transferred to the central base of the 27th Division of Mohammad Rassool Allah, which is equipped with a modern medical facility and is between Tehran and Qom.

At the time of the explosions, the source said, 203 Iranian scientists and technicians along with 16 North Koreans had been logged in at the site, though the initial report listed 240 people.

The day before the explosions, the North Koreans had brought in new equipment, described by the source as touch-screen monitors the size of TVs that were installed in the monitoring room and some new parts that were installed in the centrifuges before the start of the enrichment process.

Get the inside story in Reza Kahlili’s “A Time To Betray” and learn how the Islamic regime “bought the bomb” in “Atomic Iran.”

The explosions were reported exclusively by WND Jan. 24, with updates Jan. 27, Jan. 29, Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, and that the trapped workers included 16 North Koreans: 14 technicians and two military attaches.

The source said many of the centrifuges have been destroyed and rescuers have still not accessed the reserves of the 20 percent stock of enriched uranium to assess the level of radiation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has not visited the site since the explosions despite media rumors that it has, the source said. Because the regime’s Ministry of Defense covers the project at Fordow, officials of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization were allowed to visit it on Jan. 5.

In an unusual move, the IAEA issued a brief statement on Jan. 29: “We understand that Iran has denied that there has been an incident at Fordow. This is consistent with our observations.”

IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor emailed that response to reporters. However, when pushed by WND, Tudor could neither confirm nor deny the incident had taken place and did not say whether inspectors had visited the site after the explosions, despite some media reports that it had.

Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, representatives of the supreme leader and intelligence officers from both the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards have visited parts of the site that have been cleared as secure. A counterintelligence committee has been formed to investigate the incident, which already has been called an act of sabotage, with Israel the prime suspect.

The regime is debating about how to explain the incident at a later date depending on the level of destruction, the source said, but because of internal rifts among President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Majlis (parliament), Ahmadinejad or others connected to his team will soon reveal the incident.

Regime media have solely based their denial that the explosions occurred on a statement by White House spokesman Jay Carney, who told reporters on Jan. 28: “We have no information to confirm the allegations in the (WND) report and we do not believe the report is credible.”

However, the Islamic regime’s official news agency, IRNA, in a report on Jan. 30, called WND a “mouthpiece of the CIA” and its reporting mere propaganda by the West before the start of renewed negotiations between Iran and the 5-plus-1 powers – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, plus Germany.

IRNA’s report said: “WND, which publishes under the direct control of the CIA, on Thursday, Jan. 24, reported that an explosion took place at Fordow that destroyed much of the facility and trapped 240 personnel. WND in its report interestingly touches on the previous sabotage at Fordow and in a coordinated effort, the White House denies having information and the Israelis state their happiness of such an event. The propaganda by the West continues with the BBC reporting that Iran has denied the report put out by Reza Kahlili, a former CIA spy in the Revolutionary Guards.”

IRNA, in its extensive report, covered all the recent WND revelations about Iran’s nuclear program and Russia’s involvement in it. It said that “Two days prior to the publication of the explosion report, WND reported that an Iranian spy in the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, has informed the Islamic republic that Tel Aviv and certain Western countries have plans on covert ops for the destruction of Iranian nuclear sites. This news agency (WND) in another report states that the recent negotiations between the IAEA and the Iranian counterparts for the inspection of the Parchin military site was a failure and that Iran will resort to publication of documents from the Shah era to further pressure the U.S.”

IRNA concluded that “the West knows this is psychological warfare (and it) will not disrupt the goals of (Iran) in the negotiations, but it tries to fill that void with propaganda against clear and logical policies of the Islamic Republic, which is the result of their hatred against the government of Iran.”

The regime media have also attacked Hamidreza Zakeri, the former officer of Iran’s ministry of intelligence, now living in Europe, who has provided information on the Fordow explosion and other valuable insights into the regime’s illicit activities.

The Fordow nuclear site was central to the regime’s nuclear bomb program, built 300 feet under the belly of a mountain where over 2,700 centrifuges were enriching uranium to the 20 percent level. That level could within weeks be further enriched to nuclear weapons grade.

In a letter to the IAEA two days after the reported explosions, Iran said it plans to install thousands of its upgraded centrifuges at the Natanz facility. The source stated that this was as a direct result of the explosions at Fordow.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).



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