huge explosion reported in iran ..

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    Unknown plane fires missile at Iran’s nuclear reactor
    2/16/2005 3:30:00 PM GMT

    An unknown plane fired a missile in a remote area near the southern Iranian city of Dailam in the province of Bushehr where Iran’s nuclear reactor is located, Iranian state television said on Wednesday.

    The TV reported that a huge blast was heard this morning on the outskirts of Dailam in the Bushehr province.

    Witnesses said that the missile was fired from an unknown aircraft some 20 km from the city, Iran's Arabic language Al-Alam said.

    There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials and the report wasn’t carried in Persian media inside Iran.

    The Russian-built 1,000-megawatt Bushehr power plant, Iran's only nuclear reactor, is expected to begin operation in late 2005. Dailam is about 100 miles from the nuclear facility.

    Crude oil prices surged and the U.S. stock futures witnessed a sharp drop following the reports.

    Iran’s Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi accused the U.S. on Wednesday of using satellites and other tools to spy on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    In an interview with the official IRNA news agency, Yunesi said; "We believe the United States has been spying against Iran for some time using satellites and other tools,"

    "Most of the shining objects that our people see over Iran's airspace are American spying equipment used to spy on Iran's nuclear and military facilities," he added.

    Yunesi also denied the U.S. claims that Tehran is covertly developing an atomic weapons program. "Our nuclear and military activities are transparent. We have nothing to hide," Yunesi said.

    Yunesi’s comments backed up a report in Sunday’s The Washington Post that quoted unidentified U.S. officials as saying that the U.S. is using spy technology and that its drones had been flying over Iran for the past year in order to find evidence of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

    In December, the Iranian air force was ordered to shoot down any unknown or suspicious flying objects in the country’s airspace. At the time, Iranian media released reports suggesting that spying devices had been found in unmanned planes that had been shot down.

    "If any of the bright objects come close, they will definitely meet our fire. We possess the necessary equipment to confront them," Yunesi said.

    State-run media has also reported on several sightings of unknown objects flying over parts of Iran where nuclear facilities are located.

    Meanwhile, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog Mohammad ElBaradei said on Tuesday that there is no proof to assert claims that Iran is covertly developing a nuclear weapons program.

    In an interview published by The Washington Post, ElBaradei said; "On Iran, there really hasn't been much development, neither as a result of our inspections or as a result of intelligence,"

    "If I look at the big picture," he said, "there is no enrichment in Iran, and this is quite satisfactory, and I hope it keeps this way until we reach an agreement,” he added.

    ElBaradei also criticized the U.S. tough stance on Iran, as well as its rejection to engage in Tehran’s nuclear talks. "I don't see talking to a regime as legitimization," he said, adding that "They talk to North Korea, and I don't think that legitimizes the North Korean regime.”



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