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Iran fires at what it perceives to be Israeli attack drones near the Isfahan nuclear and air base.

Attack drones near the Isfahan

By SamarPublished about a month ago 4 min read
Tensions are still high following Iran's unprecedented missile and drone attack on Israel, prompting Iran to fire air defense batteries early on Friday morning in response to reports of explosions close to a major airbase in the city of Isfahan.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — In retaliation for Tehran's unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the nation, Iran launched air defenses early on Friday morning near the central city of Isfahan after spotting drones that were thought to be part of an Israeli attack.

The Israeli military declined to comment when contacted, and no Iranian official explicitly confirmed that Israel may have attacked. But since Israel's attack on Saturday, amid its own strikes against Iran in Syria and its own conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, tensions have been high.

As of early Friday, American broadcast networks had reported, citing anonymous U.S. officials, that Israel was the attack's perpetrator. However, U.S. officials had declined to comment. The attack, which occurred on the 85th birthday of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was reported by anonymous Israeli officials to the New York Times. Politicians in Israel also made remarks that seemed to imply that the nation had attacked.

According to state television, air defense batteries in multiple provinces opened fire in response to reports of drone activity. According to Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, the commander of the Iranian army, crews targeted multiple flying objects.

According to Mousavi, "the explosion that occurred this morning in the skies over Isfahan was caused by air defense systems firing at a suspicious object that did not cause any damage." Some speculated that the drones might be small, commercially available quadcopters, which have four rotors.

Officials reported that air defenses opened fire on a significant air base in Isfahan, which has long housed Iran's fleet of F-14 Tomcats, manufactured in the United States and acquired prior to the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Additionally, Tasnim released a video from one of its reporters, claiming to have been in Isfahan's "nuclear energy mountain" neighborhood in the southeast Zerdenjan area. The video displayed two distinct anti-aircraft gun positions, and its details matched those of the known Iranian Uranium Conversion Facility site in Isfahan.

"We heard gunshots at 4:45. Nothing was happening," he stated. "These guys you're watching and the ones over there were the air defense," the speaker said.

The Isfahan facility manages the production of fuel and other activities for Iran's civilian nuclear program in addition to running three small research reactors supplied by China.

Sites connected to Iran's nuclear program are also located in Isfahan, including the subterranean Natanz enrichment site, which has been the target of multiple alleged Israeli sabotage attacks.

All of the nearby nuclear sites were characterized as "fully safe" by state television. Following the incident, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, declared that "there is no damage to Iran's nuclear sites."

Reiterating that nuclear facilities should never be a target in military conflicts, the IAEA "continues to call for extreme restraint from everybody."

Since the collapse of its atomic deal with world powers in 2018, when then-President Donald Trump withdrew America from the accord, Iran's nuclear program has rapidly advanced to producing enriched uranium at levels almost equal to weapons-grade levels.

Iran maintains that its program is for peaceful purposes, but until 2003, Western countries and the IAEA claim Tehran was engaged in a covert military weapons program. Iran currently has enough enriched uranium on hand to produce multiple nuclear weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency has warned. However, the U.S. intelligence community insists Tehran is not actively pursuing the bomb.

Around 4:30 a.m. local time, the airlines Emirates and FlyDubai, based in Dubai, started making detours around western Iran. Although local advisories to pilots indicated that the airspace might have been closed, they provided no explanation.

Subsequently, Iran suspended commercial aviation operations in Tehran and throughout its western and central regions. Authorities reported that Iran later resumed regular flight operations.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency cited a military statement around the time of the incident in Iran, claiming that Israel had launched a missile strike that targeted an air defense unit in the country's south and caused material damage. The attack, according to the opposition war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, struck a government military radar. The Observatory stated that it was unclear if there were any casualties.

That region of Syria is east of Israel and directly west of Isfahan, at a distance of about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles).

Meanwhile, residents of Baghdad, in Iraq, the home base of several militias backed by Iran, reported hearing explosion sounds, though it was unclear where the noise originated.

Concerns about the conflict escalating once more across the Middle East's seas, where the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen have been attacking shipping over the Gaza conflict, were also aroused by the incident that occurred in Iran on Friday.

Ships in the area may notice an increase in drone activity in the skies, according to a warning from the British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center.

It stated, "At this time, there are no indications that commercial vessels are the intended target."

Since November, the Houthis have attacked ships at least 53 times, taken over one, and sunk another, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

As a result of the United States-led airstrike campaign in Yemen against the rebels, as well as the decreased threat to shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the number of Houthi attacks has decreased in recent weeks.

Additionally, the alleged assault momentarily alarmed the energy markets, pushing benchmark Brent crude above $90 before it dropped once more on Friday.

But after the fact, Iranian state-run media showed footage of an otherwise calm morning in Isfahan in an attempt to minimize the incident. That might have been done on purpose, especially in light of the fact that Iranian officials have been threatening to strike back at any Israeli attack on the country for days.

"There is room for both sides to climb down the escalation ladder for the time being as long as Iran continues to deny the attack, deflect attention from it, and no further hits are seen," stated Sanam Vakil, Chatham House's director of the Middle East and North Africa program.


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  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    Welldone excellent story

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