Intel group: Israel behind blast in Iranian base last year
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Intel group: Israel behind blast in Iranian base last year

Wikileaks documents also quote Netanyahu saying Obama does not understand Iranian threat

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

In this image taken from amateur video, smokes rises from an explosion at a Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot outside Bidganeh village, west of Tehran, last November (photo credit: AP)
In this image taken from amateur video, smokes rises from an explosion at a Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot outside Bidganeh village, west of Tehran, last November (photo credit: AP)

Israeli agents were responsible for a devastating blast last November that damaged an important Iranian military facility, according to an email written by the head of a leading private American intelligence company that was revealed Wednesday on Wikileaks.

Claiming to have spoken to multiple “good” Israeli sources, the CEO and founder of Texas-based intelligence company Stratfor, George Friedman, told his colleagues that he believes Israeli operatives were behind the explosion at a base of Revolutionary Guards on November 12. The blast killed more than 15 soldiers, among them at least one general.

“Everything I’m hearing from Israel is that they did it,” Friedman wrote in an e-mail on November 15. While it isn’t clear whether the explosion, which took place about 40 kilometers from Tehran, was caused by a special military operation or submarine-launched cruise missile, his Israeli contacts claim they were responsible for it, Friedman wrote.

“The claims go too wide to be simply orchestrated. They are really gloating and my gut tells me its true this time. They are near dancing. Could be just crap but I am taking it seriously. The sources are good on this.”

While Tehran initially said an accident caused the blast at the Bidganeh missile testing site and denied any Mossad involvement, many in Iran blamed foreign intelligence services for the incident. A former director of an Iranian state-run organization close to the government, for instance, told the Guardian that the incident “was part of the covert war against Iran, led by Israel.”

“They (the Israelis) want it to be known that they did it in order to intimidate the Iranians,” Friedman wrote in a second email, after his colleagues questioned his sources’ motives for divulging such information. “That’s why they authorize diplomats to talk. The question is whether they did it or are taking credit for the accident. My judgment based on conversations is that they did do it. They are making that very public but unofficial. The mystery is how they did it.”

Wikileaks recently published more than five million emails that Stratfor analysts exchanged between July 2004 and December 2011. Stratfor, which calls itself a “provider of geopolitical analysis,” is believed to provide intelligence to corporations and government agencies, such as the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Defense Intelligence Agency.

After the leaked emails were first published, Stratfor released a statement calling the leaks “a deplorable, unfortunate — and illegal — breach of privacy.” The statement further said that while some of the emails might be accurate others could be forged. “We will not validate either. Nor will we explain the thinking that went into them.”

Netanyahu vowed to use every means to thwart Iran

In another email published on Wikileaks, Stratfor’s vice president for intelligence, Fred Burton, wrote that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a US Congressman in a one-on-one conversation that he would not allow Iran to reach nuclear capabilities, “and he intends to use every means at his disposal to see that doesn’t happen — ‘Mossad, bunker-busting bombs, whatever it takes,’ if need be.”

Burton, who according to Wikileaks is a former special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was the deputy chief of its counterterrorism division, also quotes Netanyahu as saying that US President Barack Obama doesn’t understand the Iranian threat — “‘rose-colored glasses’ was the exact phrase used,” Burton wrote in May 2010.

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