An Iranian nuclear facility has been hit by a huge explosion, the second such blast in a month, prompting speculation that Tehran's military and atomic sites are under attack.
Satellite imagery confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran. The images clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction, negating Iranian claims yesterday that no such explosion had taken place.
Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was "no doubt" that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was "no accident". The explosion at Iran's third-largest city came as satellite images emerged of the damage caused by one at a military base outside Tehran two weeks ago that killed about 30 members of the Revolutionary Guard, including General Hassan Moghaddam, the head of the Iranian missile defence program.
Iran went into frantic denial yesterday as news of the explosion at Isfahan emerged. Alireza Zaker-Isfahani, the city's governor, claimed that the blast had been caused by a military exercise in the area but state-owned agencies in Tehran soon removed this story and issued a government denial that any explosion had taken place at all.
On Monday, Dan Meridor. the Israeli Intelligence Minister, said: "There are countries who impose economic sanctions and there are countries who act in other ways in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat."