Suicide drones launched from inside Iran reportedly hit Parchin military site

A deadly explosion at Iran’s Parchin military complex on Wednesday was caused by quadcopter suicide drones, in an attack that matches a pattern of previous strikes that have been attributed to Israel, The New York Times reported on Friday.

The report cited three Iranian sources as well as a US official, who confirmed drones struck the site, but declined to say who was behind the attack. He said the drones were detonated in a building used for research on Iranian drone development.

The explosion killed a young engineer at the site and injured another person.

The report notes that the strike matches a pattern of previous attacks that have been attributed to Israel, including previous strikes against Iran’s drone program.

Iranian sources told The Times that the drone attack was launched from inside Iran, not far from the Parchin military base – which the Islamic Republic uses to develop missile, nuclear and weapon technology. drones – noting that quadcopter drones have a short flight range, and Parchin is far from Iranian borders.

While Iranian officials initially used the word “accident” to describe the explosion, the Defense Ministry called it an “incident” and called the victim a “martyr”, suggesting that Tehran is convinced that it was an attack by a foreign entity. .

On Thursday, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Hossein Salami said the killing “will receive an answer… Our enemies should wait,” without naming who they were.

It would not be the first time that a drone attack has been launched from inside Iran’s borders by agents allegedly recruited by Israel.

An Iranian Shahed-136 drone is launched during a military exercise in Iran, December 2021. (Screenshot/Twitter)

Israel did not comment on Wednesday’s incident, but it mirrored others that have taken place recently in Iran and Lebanon, where Jerusalem has sought to target Tehran’s production and transfer of drone technology to agents across the Middle East.

Last February, a reported Israeli drone attack caused significant damage to Iran’s drone fleet near the city of Kermanshah, prompting Iran to fire missiles at a site in Iraq it said was a base for Israeli intelligence.

Last June, a suspected Israeli drone struck a facility in the town of Karaj that is used to assemble centrifuges for uranium enrichment at Natanz and Fordow. The site is called Iran Centrifuge Technology Company, or TESA.

A senior Israeli military official told The New York Times that the country has invested significant resources in detecting and destroying these weapons, which pose a particular threat given that they can evade IDF anti-missile systems such as Iron Dome.

Iranian drones have been used in attacks on Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and even a US base in Syria, intelligence officials told The Times.

Wednesday’s strike came days after gunmen shot dead an officer of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the middle of Tehran.

Israel told US officials it was behind the assassination and that it killed Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei in a bid to warn Tehran against continuing the operations of an alleged secret unit it helped set up. lead, an intelligence official told The Times.

Mourners gather around the coffin of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Colonel Sayyad Khodaei during a funeral procession in Imam Hussein Square in the capital Tehran on May 24, 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Parchin, located south of Tehran, has been linked to Iran’s missile production and nuclear research work. It has been the site of a number of mysterious explosions in the past, which some say were engineered by Iran’s enemies.

The complex is said to have hosted tests of conventional explosives in the past that could be used to detonate a nuclear warhead, which Iran has repeatedly denied.

The site came under renewed scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2015 when Tehran struck a landmark deal with major powers under which it agreed to limit its nuclear activities under the supervision of the United Nations in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran had previously denied the IAEA access to Parchin, insisting it was a military site unrelated to any nuclear activity, but the agency’s then chief, the late Yukiya Amano, visited the site.

Iran’s nuclear program has been the target of a campaign of sabotage, cyberattacks and assassinations of key scientists that it has blamed on Israel.

Other explosions and fires occurred in Parchin in 2014 and 2007.

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