For a demagogue like Ahmadinejad who maintains power through intimidation of both his own people and his neighbors in the Middle-East, recent events may have undermined not only his nuclear ambitions but perhaps his grasp on power itself.
Iranian technicians at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant earlier this year. The facility has since reportedly been attacked by the Stuxnet worm. (Ghasemi/AP)
Earlier this month Iran’s nuclear program was hit by the Stuxnet worm cyber attack. According to the New York Daily News:
… a majority of the documented Stuxnet attacks since its discovery by internet security experts in June have been on Iran, according to computer security experts.
Some analysts believe the code is too sophisticated to be the work of random hackers and was likely created by a Western power, such as the United States or Israel, specifically to shutdown Iran’s nuclear program.
On Thursday, three Symantec researchers claimed they found a clue that points to Israel as the culprit: the number “19790509,” appears in Stuxnet’s code and is possibly a reference to the date, May 9, 1979. On that day, Jewish-Iranian businessman Habib Elghanian was executed being convicted of spying for Israel.
Now, DEBKAFile reports that a secret Iranian missile base was struck by a triple blast just before Ahmadinejad arrived in Lebanon to declear that Israel was destined to “disappear”.
Sabotage deep underground at Iran Imam Ali Missile Base.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report the site held most of the Shehab-3 medium-range missile launchers Iran had stocked for striking US forces in Iraq and Israel in the event of war – some set to deliver triple warheads (tri-conic nosecones).
The 18 soldiers officially reported killed in the blasts and 14 injured belonged to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) main missile arm, the Al-Hadid Brigades.
The Imam Ali Base where the explosion occurred is situated in lofty Zagros mountain country near the town of Khorramabad in the western Iranian province of Lorestan. This site was selected for an altitude which eases precise targeting and the difficulty of reaching it for air or ground attack. It lies 400 kilometers from Baghdad and primary American bases in central Iraq and 1,250 kilometers from Tel Aviv and central Israel. Both are well within the Shehab-3 missile’s 1,800-2,500-kilometer operational range.
Our Iranian sources report that Tehran spent hundreds of millions to build one of the largest subterranean missile launching facilities of its kind in the Middle East or Europe. Burrowed under the Imam Ali Base is a whole network of wide tunnels deep underground. Somehow, a mysterious hand rigged three blasts in quick succession deep inside those tunnels, destroying a large number of launchers and causing enough damage to render the facility unfit for use.
In its official statement on the incident, Tehran denied it was the result of “a terrorist attack” and claimed the explosion “was caused by a nearby fire that spread to the munitions storage area of the base.” In the same way, the regime went to great lengths to cover up the ravages wrought to their nuclear and military control systems by the Stuxnet virus – which is still at work.
In actual fact, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, Iran’s missile arsenal and the Revolutionary Guards have also suffered a devastating blow. Worst of all, all their experts are a loss to account for the assailants’ ability to penetrate one of Iran’s most closely guarded bases and reach deep underground to blow up the missile launchers.
The number of casualties is believed to be greater than the figure given out by Tehran.
According to Aviation Week, North Korea’s new intermediate range BM-25 Musudan missile resembles the Iranian Shehab-3, so the explosions may have not only set back Iranian nuclear ambitions but they may also have set back nuclear cooperation between Iran and North Korea as well.
During the 2008 campaign, Rabbi Neil Cooper (above) and Richard Berkman questioned Obama’s willingness to stand up to Iran, and to let Israel take the steps it deems necessary to defend itself from nuclear attack.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, much hay was made of Obama’s willingness to talk to Iran about the nuclear issue. Many equated any diplomacy with Iran with Chamberlain’s capitulation to Hitler. However, Obama has shown leadership in the international community giving real teeth to the economic sanctions on Iran. Just this month Iran’s biggest trading and banking partner – the United Arab Emerates – has moved into compliance with the United Nations Resolutions.
Following the cyber-attacks of Iranian nuclear plants and sabotage of an Iranian missle base, there are no calls on Israel to show restraint. Clearly, this Democratic administration and much of the world community understands the dangers inherent in an Iranian nuclear program and are glad to see steps taken to delay or neutralize the program.
Hopefully, the day will come soon when the Iranian people also stand up to Ahmadinejad’s intimidation and get the new leadership Iran needs to bring them into an era of peace, tolerance and prosperity.