Did Iran blast target steel needed for nuke program?
Iranians need maraging steel to produce new uranium enrichment centrifuges and exhaust systems for missile engines. Was explosion at steel factory connected to nuclear program?
Does the mysterious blast in Iran's steel factory have any connection to attempts to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program? Foreign reports suggesting Iran received North Korean steel used for uranium enrichment and the production of exhaust systems of missile engines may indicate that there is such a connection.
Initially, the Iranians claimed that the cause for Sunday's blast was the penetration of water into the steel's melting pot but later said that ammunition brought to the factory had exploded.
Less than a month ago, Germany's Die Welt newspaper reported that North Korea had provided Iran and Syria with special maraging steel which serves for the production of facilities required to withstand high speed and heavy heat. The paper claimed that both the Iranians and the Syrians are in need of such steel for the production of new centrifuges for uranium enrichment and the manufacturing of exhaust systems for missile engines.
Iran and Syria have thus far not succeeded in manufacturing maraging steel on their own and have therefore purchased it from North Korea in order to accommodate their nuclear and missile programs, Die Welt claims. The report is based on western intelligence sources.
Steel factory in Yazd after blast
It is very likely that this report may be linked to Sunday's blast at the steel factory in the city of Yazd. Though privately owned, the factory is considered a modern facility. The local governor noted that the blast occurred after 7 pm and that a number of foreign nationals had died in the explosion. These may be North Koreans training Iranians on maraging steel.
According to foreign reports, the Iranians intend to install the new high-speed centrifuges from the IR2 and IR3 models at the new Fordu uranium enrichment site buried deep in the mountainside near the city of Qom but in order to manufacture the modern centrifuges, the Iranians need large quantities of maraging steel.
Just a coincidence?
Moreover, the Iranians need maraging steel to manufacture the ballistic missile engines they are constructing. It is possible that they acquired the knowledge needed to create the steel from North Korea as well as assistance in the first manufacturing stages because of their need of massive quantities of the steel.
Therefore, it is extremely plausible that there is a connection between the blast that occurred at the steel plant in Yazd, at an hour not usually considered a work hour. It is also possible that this is the reason that there were "foreign civilians" among the casualties.
The possibility that an accident caused the blast should still be taken into consideration yet the coincidence in which facilities connected to the Iranian missile and nuclear programs makes it hard to reject the possibility that this was intentional sabotage or as the media likes to call it – "a mysterious blast."
The blasts in Isfahan and Yazd may seem like accidents but the frequency with which the "accidents" have been occurring recently points to a new method of sabotage in the Iranian nuclear program. It is being carried out by "western factors", Iranians operated by those factors, or maybe through "tools" that cause blasts though the tools themselves and their armament aren't visible on the scene of the blast.
Recently, experts raised some assumptions in the global media claiming the US was using its elusive UAVs to follow and maybe even sabotage the Iranian nuclear program.