Iranian exile reported alleged blast, and Israeli official confirmed
UNCONFIRMED: White House debunks sensational story; Iran dismisses reports as Western propaganda
According to several news outlets, including Reuters and the Daily Beast, the conflicting reports of an explosion at the underground Fordow bunker underscore Iran's claim that the United States and Israel are waging a silent war against Iran's nuclear program.
"The false news of an explosion at Fordow is Western propaganda ahead of nuclear negotiations to influence their process and outcome," Saeed Shamseddin Bar Broudi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted in state news agency IRNA. (Click here for additional reports on the story.)
In late 2011, the plant at Fordow began producing uranium enriched with 20 percent fissile purity, far higher than the 3.5 percent needed for nuclear energy plants, Reuters reported. Western governments say the higher-grade enrichment is a significant step toward weapons-grade material. The Islamic state counters that it is producing the high levels of uranium to make fuel for a research reactor that produces medical isotopes.
Conspiracy theory website World Net Daily, notorious for launching the "Birther" debate about President Obama's citizenship, was the genesis of the false explosion story. An Iranian exile who goes by Reza Kahlili reported the alleged blast to World Net Daily last week, and London's Times cited an Israeli official confirming the explosion.
On Monday, the White House debunked the reports.
"We have no information to confirm the allegations in that report, and we do not believe the report is credible," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a briefing Monday.
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