In the city of Esfahan, Iranians have been ordered to evacuate the area possibly because of a nuclear reactor leak. Analysts believe that damage may have occurred to Iran's nuclear enrichment research facility in Esfahan.
On 3 January 2013, BBC Persian reporting Iranian officials ordered the evacuation of the city due to, “pollution has now reached emergency levels,” according to Jerusalem Post. Hamshari in Farsi referred to the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) quoting Hussein Safari, Chief of Center for Health of Esfahan Province, stating the people of greater Esfahan should leave the city to be safe from air pollution, according to ISNA.
Tehran went to great lengths in early December 2012 to deny reports of radiation leaks through state-run media outlets stating, “the rumors about leaking and contamination at Esfahan’s (Uranium Conversion Facility) are not true at all,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.
On 28 November 2012, the head of Iran's emergency services stated workers had been experiencing some health problems at work. The Mehr News report was pulled within hours. The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization told ISNA, "This news is only an allegation and not true, the one who has commented about this, must further explain," according to Trend News.
The city of Esfahan has been assessed to be associated with the primary location of the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The Nuclear Technology/Research Center in Esfahan (ENTC) was Iran's largest nuclear research center, and was assessed to employ roughly 3,000 scientists, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Esfahan has been assessed to be the site for Iran's largest missile assembly and production plant. This ballistic missile production facility, built with North Korean assistance, is believed to be capable of producing liquid propellants and missile structural components. Esfahan is assessed to be one of Iran's major chemical weapons facilities, along with the facilities located at Damghan, Parchin and Qazvin. Esfahan has been home to a number of industrial chemical concerns, including the Poly-Acryl Iran Corporation, Linear Alkyl Benzene Complex, and the central office of Iran's Chemical Industries Group, a subordinate organization of the state run Defense Industries Organization, according to Global Security News.
The Esfahan area was a major center for Iran's advanced defense industry, with plants for munition productions, tank overhaul, and helicopter and fixed wing aircraft maintenance. The main operational facilities for the army's aviation units are located at Esfahan, presumably at Khatamin Air Base northeast of the city, according to Global Security news. Therefore, any major nuclear accident at Esfahan will significantly weaken Iran’s capability to conduct warfare operations against Israel, America, and NATO forces.
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