Iran’s nuclear facilities unharmed after explosions heard near major airbase

Iran has fired its air defence batteries and shut down flight operations in several parts of the country following “explosions” near a major military base.

Commercial planes began diverting their routes early Friday morning over western Iran without explanation as state media reported “explosions” had been heard over the city of Isfahan.

The incident comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East after Iran launched an unprecedented missile-and-drone attack on Israel in retaliation against a strike on Iran’s consulate in Syria earlier this month.

Israel last week had warned of a military response “to exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us” without sharing further details.

Air defence systems in Isfahan were activated against “an object suspected to be a drone”, the Fars news agency reported citing sources. It said three explosions were heard near an army base in the city’s northwest.

Isfahan, located around 350km south of capital Tehran, is considered to be a strategically important region and home to Iran’s several nuclear sites along with a a major military air base. The nearby city of Natanz is one of Iran’s nuclear enrichment sites.

Iranian state television says nuclear facilities near Isfahan are “fully safe” after air defence batteries were fired in the area.

Dubai-based carriers Emirates and FlyDubai diverted flights around western Iran, though local warnings to aviators suggested the airspace might have been closed.

Iran later announced it grounded commercial flights in Tehran and across areas of its western and central regions.

Hossein Dalirian, a spokesperson for Iran’s civilian space programme, said on the X that several small” “quadcopter” drones had been shot down.

However, an Iranian official told Reuters that the explosions heard in Isfahan were a result of the activation of Iran’s air defence systems. The unnamed official claimed no missile attacks were carried out against Iran.

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