|Christl Leong |||Oct 09, 2014 11:24 PM EDT|
(Photo : IsraelDefense.com) Satellite photos showing the before and after of the massive explosion in Parchin, Iran.
Satellite images taken after Sunday's explosion at Iran's secretive Parchin facility show significant damage at the site and gives credence to speculation that Tehran's nuclear weapons development program is alive.
The images indicate that an entire portion of the compound was leveled by the explosion, said Israel Defense Force analyst Ronen Solomon, referring to a side-by-side comparison of before and after images of the site.
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The Iranian government denied the blast took place but was forced to retract its position a day later, Fox News reported. Two peopledied f rom a fire caused by the explosion, the government announced through state-owned IRNA news agency.
There is a long-standing suspicion that Iran's facility in Parchin, located south of Tehran, serves as the country's nuclear weapons program base where key warhead mechanisms are made.
Since 2005, nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not had access to the site. Iran had refused to issue a VISA to an IAEA investigator scheduled to visit the country on August, the third time such a denial has been made against the official.
The P5+1 - China, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and the U.S. - have maintained Tehran's continued lack of transparency with regard to its Parchin facility defeats the goal of the negotiation process. Iran has repeatedly denied carrying out nuclear work at Parchin.
Mark Fitzpatrick of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies believes the site is key to the slew of issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program, citing reports that suggested experiments at Parchin continued even after 2003 when the IAEA suspended Tehran's weapons program.
The West believes Parchin houses the program's nuclear lens manufacture, said terror expert Ronen Bergman. The nuclear lens is assembled around the bomb which when triggered, causes the uranium sphere to flow inwards and create a response similar to that of an atomic explosion, he explained.
If any such evidence of nuclear weapons development is found, it would effectively bring an end to negotiations, Bergman added.
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