In a little-noted news item ahead of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's speech to the United Nations General Assembly late last month, Israel accused Iran of conducting nuclear implosion tests at its controversial Parchin military facility.
In theory, the allegation—said to be based on "highly reliable information"—was meant to inspire action by the international consortium that initally put sanctions on Iran and its budding nuclear program. Negotiations over a long-term deal between Iran and six major countries have had their setbacks, worrying some that the push to stop Iran's nuclear program had been lost to other, more pressing causes.
As ISIS dominated much of the United Nations agenda, the incendiary report didn't get much traction. That left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the hard work of connecting the dots.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, would you let ISIS enrich uranium? Would you let ISIS build a heavy water reactor? Would you let ISIS develop intercontinental ballistic missiles?" Netanyahu asked in his United Nations speech. "Of course you wouldn’t. Then you mustn't let the Islamic State of Iran do those things either."
Miraculously enough, on Monday, reports broke about an incident that took place at or near the Parchin site in Iran on Sunday night. According to the BBC, one Iranian opposition site described the event as a massive explosion that lit up the sky and shattered windows over nine miles away. The semi-official Islamic Republic News Agency dubbed the episode a "fire [that] broke out in an explosives producing factory in eastern Tehran," neglecting to include the name Parchin and adding that two people had died. Neither source mentioned or even speculated upon the cause of the incident.
It's widely believed that the United States and Israel have engaged in a heavy regimen of sabotage against the suspected Iranian nuclear program including, but not limited to, crippling computer viruses, the assassination of nuclear scientists, and a series of mysterious explosions that have killed high-level targets and damaged facilities.
This development comes just hours before Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were reportedly set to meet in Tehran. The Parchin complex, which has long been a site that the U.S. and Israel say might be part of an illicit Iranian nuclear program, has not been inspected by the IAEA since 2005. If the episode in Iran is some kind of sub-rosa attack, the timing couldn't be better.