The United States does not believe media reports
about an explosion at an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, White House
spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.
The reports had said there had been an explosion early last week at the underground Fordo
bunker near the holy Iranian city of Qom.
"We have no information to confirm the allegations in the report and we do not believe the report is credible," Carney said. "We don't believe those are credible reports."
Earlier Monday, British newspaper The Times reported that Israeli officials have apparently confirmed that an explosion had taken place on Fordo.
Fordo is considered to be Iran's second-largest nuclear facility and the site of the 2,700 centrifuges, all enriching uranium to 20% level.
Satellite image of Fordo facility (Photo: AFP)
Carved into the belly of a mountain, Fordo is considered impregnable to airstrikes and most bunker-buster bombs.
Two top Iranian officials – Deputy Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi and chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security Alaeddin Boroujerdi, dismissed the reports of the blast – carried by American news website WMD – and referred to them as "Western-made propaganda."
The WND report said, "The blast shook facilities within a radius of three miles. Security forces have enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles, and the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast."
According to The Times, while WND could not supply any independent corroboration for the report, an Israeli defense official allegedly said that "We're still trying to understand exactly what happened… We don't know if this was sabotage or an accident."
The newspaper further quoted Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter as saying: "Any explosion in Iran
that doesn’t hurt people but hurts its assets is welcome."
Prior to denying reports of the explosion Iran had initially called it "an act of sabotage."