TEHRAN, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- A commander of the Iranian Armed Forces on Monday denied "a massive explosion" at the Fordow uranium enrichment facility near the Central city of Qom, semi- official Fars news agency reported.
The denial by Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, came after the Islamic republic has rejected recent media reports that there had been a major explosion at the underground enrichment site.
On Sunday, Deputy Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran ( AEOI), Shamseddin Barbaroudi, said the Western media reports about Fordow's explosion was untrue, stressing that "There has been no explosion in Fordow nuclear facility."
According to Iran's official news agency IRNA, Barbaroudi said such fake news was Western propaganda ahead of nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers to influence the outcome of the negotiations.
In August, a senior Iranian lawmaker said Iran's nuclear scientists and experts had managed to thwart enemies' plots to infiltrate and blow up the Fordow uranium enrichment facility.
"The enemies intended to repeat a Chernobyl-like disaster through selling (booby-trapped) equipment and blowing up the centrifuges at the Fordow site, but their plot was discovered and foiled by the Iranian scientists' wisdom and tact," Abbas-Ali Mansouri, member of the Iranian Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, was quoted as saying by Fars.
In relevant remarks, head of AEOI, Fereidoon Abbasi, also said that separate attacks on Iran's centrifuges -- through tiny explosives meant to disable key parts of the machines -- were discovered before the blasts could go off on timers, said Fars.
The Fordow nuclear plant has been built near the Iranian central Shi'ite holy city of Qom, which was used for producing up to 20-percent enriched uranium. The start of the nuke work at the site has increased international fear as the West suspects that Iran's uranium enrichment may be meant for moving closer to the ability of making nuclear weapons. But Iran insists that its nuclear program is only for peaceful use.
After the two-day talks ended earlier this month in Tehran, both Iran and the IAEA announced that a new round of talks would be held on Feb. 13 here.
Iran and the IAEA failed to reach an agreement on the investigation of the disputed nuclear program, but Iran said the negotiations were a step forward.