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Iran Conducting New Construction At Missile Facility: Intelligence Firm

Iran has been conducting new construction activity at an underground facility near the Bakhtaran ballistic missile base in Kermanshah Province in western Iran, The Intel Lab intelligence, an imagery consulting firm reported Saturday.

After a 7-month stall, excavation of tunnels was resumed in early August, the site footprint has increased, and excavations for structure foundations are in progress, The Intel Lab said on its Twitter account.

The tunnels burrowed into hillsides are located at a distance of around 5km from the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Bakhtaran missile base to the north of the city of Kermanshah in an area called Bisotun. According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by former US Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner in the United States, the base is a potential launching point for ballistic missiles against Israel, the Gulf States and Europe.

Based on open-source satellite imagery, the intelligence and imagery consulting firm had reported that two tunnels had been excavated from January to September 2020 and published a 3D model which it said could be a possible layout of the underground facility when operational.

Farzin Nadimi, defense and security analyst in Washington DC, told Iran International Sunday that the new construction site appears to be relatively small in size but there may be large underground galleries and may be connected to the massive Bakhataran base 5km away through underground tunnels. The facility may be meant for storing, assembling and maintenance of ballistic missiles, he said.

Nadimi added that the Bakhtaran base has been used in the past for the Revolutionary Guard's missile attacks on ISIS positions in the Syrian city of Deir- ez-Zur, positions of Kurdish-Iranian armed rebels in northern Iraq, and the January 2020 attack on Ayn al-Asad, a military base in Iraq's Al Anbar province which hosted US forces.

Based on similar open-source satellite imagery, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said in May that the Revolutionary Guards was building a new missile base near Haji-Abad in the southern Hormozgan Province.

In the past few years, including March 15, 2020, Iran has periodically unveiled several underground "missile cities" without disclosing their locations.

Iran boasts of having deep tunnels and missile storage depots under mountains and has published images of these sites in the media. Iran’s first underground missile site was unveiled on October 15, 2015, a few days after the announcement of the testing of new-generation Emad missiles. In the unveiling ceremony, the Guards’ Aerospace Commander Brigadier-General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh claimed that underground missile bases were scattered throughout the country at a depth of 500 meters.

A British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National and journalist at Iran International
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