Drone attack targets Iranian defence factory as global tensions rise | Iran
Authorities said drone bombers hit an Iranian defense plant in the central city of Isfahan overnight, causing damage to the plant as regional and international tensions engulfed the Islamic Republic.
Iran’s defense ministry did not provide information on who it suspected carried out the attack, which came after a fire broke out at an oil refinery in the country’s northwest and a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck nearby, killing three person.
Tehran has become the target of alleged Israeli drone strikes amid a shadow war with its Middle Eastern rival as its nuclear deal with world powers collapsed. Meanwhile, tensions with neighboring Azerbaijan remain high after a gunman attacked the country’s embassy in Tehran, killing the chief of security and injuring two others.
Details about the attack in Isfahan, which took place around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, are still scarce. The defense ministry said in a statement that three drones were launched at the facility, two of which were successfully shot down. The third apparently crashed into the building, causing “minor damage” to its roof and injuring no one, the ministry said.
The English-language arm of Iranian state television Press TV showed a mobile phone video showing the drone crashing into the busy Imam Khomeini Expressway, which leads northwest from Isfahan, one of several routes to the holy city of Qom and Tehran. , the capital of Iran. A small crowd had gathered, attracted by anti-aircraft fire, watching as the explosion and sparks hit the dark building.
“My God! It was a drone, wasn’t it?” shouts the man filming. “Yes, it was a drone. Passers-by fled after the attack.
This footage of the strike, as well as footage of the aftermath analyzed by the Associated Press, was consistent with a site on Minu Street in northwestern Isfahan next to a shopping mall.
Iranian defense and nuclear facilities are increasingly surrounded by commercial real estate and residential areas as the country’s cities expand. In some places, nothing is said about what they produce, and there is only a sign with the logo of the Ministry of Defense or the paramilitary forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.
The MoD described the site as a “workshop”, without going into detail on what it did. Isfahan, 215 miles south of Tehran, is home to a major airbase built for a fleet of US-made F-14 fighter jets and a nuclear fuel research and production center.
The attack came after Iran’s intelligence ministry announced in July that it had uncovered a plot targeting secret facilities around Isfahan. The story aired on Iranian state television in October included alleged admissions by alleged members of Komal, a Kurdish opposition party expelled from Iran and now based in Iraq, that they were planning to strike a military aerospace facility in Isfahan after having received training in Israeli army. Mossad Intelligence Service.
Activists say Iranian state television has aired hundreds of forced confessions over the past decade. Israeli officials declined to comment on the attack.
Separately, Iranian state television reported on a fire at an oil refinery in an industrial area near the city of Tabriz in the country’s northwest. They said the reason is still unknown. The footage shows firefighters trying to put out the blaze. Tabriz is located 325 miles northwest of Tehran.
State television also reported that a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in rural West Azerbaijan province killed three people and injured 816 others, and damaged buildings in many villages.
Iran’s theocratic government is facing challenges at home and abroad as its nuclear program is rapidly enriching uranium to near-weapon-grade uranium levels since the collapse of its atomic deal with world powers.
Nationwide protests rocked the country after the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman detained by the country’s “vice police”. Its rial fell to new lows against the US dollar. Meanwhile, Iran continues to arm Russia with bomber drones that Moscow has used in Ukraine to attack power plants and civilian targets.
Israel is suspected of a series of attacks on Iran, including an attack on its underground nuclear facility at Natanz in April 2021 that damaged its centrifuges. In 2020, Iran accused Israel of a sophisticated attack that killed its top military nuclear scientist.
Israeli officials rarely acknowledge operations carried out by the country’s secret military units or the Mossad. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently re-took the post of prime minister, has long considered Iran the biggest threat facing his country. The US and Israel also just held their largest military exercise amid growing tensions with Iran.
Meanwhile, tensions between Azerbaijan and Iran remain high as Azerbaijan and Armenia feud over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Iran also wants to maintain its 27-mile (44 km) border with landlocked Armenia, which could be threatened if Azerbaijan seizes new territory militarily.
In October, Iran began military exercises near the border with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan also maintains close ties with Israel, which has angered Iranian hardliners, and has procured Israeli-made drones for its armed forces.
Anwar Gargash, a senior Emirati diplomat, said the Isfahan attack represented another development in a “dangerous escalation that the region is witnessing.” Last year, the UAE was hit by missile and drone attacks, for which Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility.
This is “not in the interests of the region and its future,” Gargash wrote on Twitter. “While the region’s problems are complex, there is no alternative to dialogue.”