An underground Iranian missile base seen in this 2021 photo issued by the military.

Tremor And 'Terrible Sound' In Western Iran Raise Suspicions

Tuesday, 09/26/2023

A powerful tremor accompanied by a loud noise shook the city of Khorramabad in western Iran on Monday night, as local officials say the source has not been identified.

Iranian media and officials are buzzing with vague and contradictory statements about the 'terrible sound,' which has apparently not resulted in any visible damage to urban areas or civilian casualties.

One thing which local and central officials emphasize is that no “earthquake or explosion” took place in the city, and they are investigating the incident.

According to Iranian media and residents commenting on social media, the incident occurred around 10PM local time on Monday, when people heard the loud sound and felt the ground was shaking. In the first few hours, some government media in Iran called the incident “an earthquake” and headlined their news, “Khorramabad shook.”

Tasnim news agency affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) wrote: "The intense jolts, accompanied by a terrifying sound, caused tremors in parts of Khorramabad city, instilling fear and disrupting the nighttime tranquility of the people." Tasnim added that residents first thought an earthquake had happened, but as the seismological center in Tehran did not register a tremor, they began speculating about an explosion. However, hours later, state official began denying any earthquake or explosion.

Observers and independent media outside Iran began reminding the public that there is a large underground IRGC ballistic missile base near Khorramabad. One Iranian military blogger in Europe posted on social media saying that the incident was “a successful Israeli operation,” without citing his sources.

Since July 2020, Israel has launched successful sabotage and drone attacks against sensitive military and industrial targets in Iran, including at least three major operations that inflicted heavy damage on nuclear installations.

In April 2021, as world power began negotiation with Iran in Vienna to revive the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement, a huge explosion hit the underground Natanz uranium enrichment site in central Iran. This was the second destructive incident in less than a year, which wiped out a significant part of enrichment machines called centrifuges.

The Islamic Republic blamed Israel for these attacks, while successive Israeli governments have remained silent and never accepted responsibility. However, they have repeatedly warned that Israel will lose all resources, including military attack to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Last week, another mysterious incident took place in northern Iran, when people in the city of Gorgan heard loud explosions and pieces of unidentified military objects fell on the city. Officials on that occasion also voiced contradictory statements. However, a deputy-governor in the province said that “a drone had crashed” and wounded two people.

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