INTRIGUE IN IRAN – AT 9:15 A.M. ET: There have been periodic reports of strange things happening to the Iranian nuclear program, courtesy of the U.S. and Israel. Is this one of them? From the Washington Free Beacon:
Iranian officials have instructed residents of Isfahan to leave the city, renewing concerns that a nearby nuclear site could be leaking radioactive material.
An edict issued Wednesday by Iranian authorities orders Isfahan’s one-and-a-half million people to leave the city “because pollution has now reached emergency levels,” the BBC reported.
However, outside observers suspect that the evacuation order may corroborate previous reports indicating that a uranium enrichment facility near Isfahan had been leaking radioactive material.
Tehran went to great lengths in December to deny these reports, telling state-run media outlets that “the rumors about leaking and contamination at Isfahan’s [Uranium Conversion Facility] are not true at all.”
November reports indicated that a radioactive leak might have poisoned several workers at the nuclear plant, which converts highly toxic yellowcake uranium into material that could be used in the core of a nuclear weapon.
The head of Iran’s emergency services agency said at the time that residents have no reason to worry about possible contamination resulting from a possible leak.
Stories about the potential leak soon disappeared from state-run news websites, Trend reported in late November.
Iranian officials denied that a leak has occurred and blamed Western media outlets for creating “tumult” in the region.
Wednesday’s evacuation order is now fueling concerns that Iranian officials are trying to hide something, including further fallout from a possible radioactive leak.
COMMENT: Ah, the old leak story. Well, maybe it's true. But maybe the plant was sabotaged. We have no inside information. However, this is worth watching. We know that foreign intelligence agencies have been able to get computer viruses inside the Iranian program. There have been unconfirmed reports of commandos on the ground. We'll wait for more information.
January 3, 2013