Blasts erupted at a research unit at the sensitive military site last Wednesday, killing a young engineer and injuring one other person, according to the Times, which cited three Iranians and one US official familiar with the incident. The sources said the attack involved multiple quadcopter suicide drones, but did not specify their make.
While Iranian officials initially said the explosions were the result of an "industrial accident," the government later suggested the site was attacked, also identifying the slain engineer as Ehsan Ghadbeigi, who it deemed a "martyr."
Given the short range of quadcopter drones and Parchin’s significant distance from Iran’s borders, Iranian sources told the Times that the assault must have been launched from within the country, not far from the complex.
No actor has claimed responsibility for the blasts, and Tehran has yet to publicly cast blame, though the Times noted that "the attack fit a pattern of past Israeli strikes," including an assault in February in which six quadcopter drones detonated near a factory in the city of Kermanshah.
Weeks later, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) retaliated with a missile salvo into Iraqi Kurdistan, claiming to target a site used by Israeli intelligence agents planning attacks on Iran.
The strikes on Parchin came just days after an IRGC officer was assassinated by gunmen in the Iranian capital. According to the Times, Israeli officials told US counterparts they were behind the killing, but Tel Aviv did not publicly confirm involvement, in line with its typical policy.
In addition to the drone bombings and other assassinations targeting Iranian scientists in the past, a string of mysterious explosions have also rocked Iranian nuclear infrastructure in recent years, such as one high-profile incident in April 2021 at the Natanz site, a major uranium enrichment facility.
Israel has been a top suspect in each case given its history of operations inside Iran, and Tehran has explicitly blamed the country for a number of the incidents.