Satellite imagery shows that Iran may be developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US and Europe at a secret base.
US-based weapons researchers made the discovery by watching an Iranian TV show about the regime’s former nuke scientist Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam.
Moghaddam died in 2011 when the missile base which he built was destroyed in an explosion.
However, what the TV show unwittingly revealed was that the military scientist developed another desert facility which is operating today.
That startling revelation prompted the Californian researchers to look through satellite pictures to find the secret missile base, reports The New York Times.
Located in Shahroud, northern Iran, the base is around 40 kilometres away from the town of the same name.
Experts believe the site is used for advanced missile engines and rocket activity being conducted during the night.
And after analysis of the structures and ground markings, researchers believe the base could be used for the development of long-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs) which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Shahrud was the site of a single medium-range missile test launch in 2013.
But after reviewing the satellite images, experts noticed that the number of buildings at the facility have slowly increased since then.
They also noticed that the buildings were painted aquamarine – a colour which the “eccentric” Moghaddam favoured for the first site which was located 330 miles away.
Another piece of evidence is the ground scars at Shahrud.
Missile technology cannot be developed underground or indoors because the engines must be fitted into stands and test fired.
The researchers found signs of two craters near the site which looked like they had been burned into the ground by an engine test.
In fact, the ground scars at Shahrud, which appeared in 2016 and 2017 respectively, were larger than the ones seen at Moghaddam’s first facility.
The experts used a new type of satellite imagery known as synthetic-aperture radar to show the base in incredible detail.
Using radio waves and measuring their echo, the technology can show details such as dirt kicked up by someone walking around.
The synthetic-aperture radar can even show changes in the environment from minute to minute.
David Schmerler, one of the US-based researchers, says the satellite evidence proves “human activity” at Shahrud.
He said: “We can see human traffic, human activity that isn’t visible on your traditional satellite.
“They’ve been driving all over the crater where the engine tests are done.”