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Blast in Iran an Assassination Attempt?

Samara Greenberg

The mystery surrounding recent blasts in Iran continues to mount. The November 12 explosion at Bidganeh that killed 17 Revolutionary Guards members may have actually been an assassination attempt on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Al Arabiya television reported Tuesday that Khamenei was invited to visit the weapons depot in Bidganeh on the day of the explosion last month. His arrival was apparently delayed, however, allowing him to escape the deadly blast. According to the report, some of the Revolutionary Guards leaders “were attempting to stage a military coup against Khamenei” by killing him during a rocket test at the base. Following his death, the plan was to declare a state of emergency and announce an interim ruling council to be headed by Khamenei’s son, Mojtaba Khamenei. The Ayatollah has since ordered the arrest of a number of senior members of the IRGC, his bodyguards, and his own son — supposedly a supporter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Other explosions have followed the one at Bidganeh. Two weeks later, there was an explosion in the city of Isfahan. While that blast was first thought to have hit a facility involved in Iran’s nuclear program, doubts on that claim have since been raised. Moreover, two weeks after that blast, on December 12, there was an explosion at a steel factory in the Iranian province of Yazd that killed eight people. While reports claim Yazd may be home to covert nuclear facilities, there is thus far no proof that the blast targeted Iran’s nuclear program. However, as Haaretz reported, North Korean nuclear arms experts may be among the dead.

While it is difficult to know with certainty what is going on in Iran right now, it is hard to believe that three blasts in such a short time frame is accidental or coincidental. Indeed, the regime is not short on enemies from within or outside of Iran.