The electricity distribution system at the Iranian nuclear plant, Natanz, was in trouble today. The director of Iran’s nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, described it as a terrorist attack on Iranian state television this afternoon.
The Israeli radio station reported later that the attack was carried out by the Israeli Mossad intelligence service. And appealed to its intelligence sources, without further details. Israel has not commented officially on the matter. Referring to local TV, Reuters reported about it.
The latest incident comes a day after Tehran launched new advanced centrifuges in Natanz, which will allow faster uranium enrichment. It also comes at a time when world powers are trying to revive a nuclear deal with Iran, from which the United States withdrew under the government of former US President Donald Trump.
The head of the Iranian nuclear program called on the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency to confront what he called “nuclear terrorism.” And local television added, according to Reuters, that Iran reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators.
Operation Natanz, located in the desert in the central Isfahan province, is a major part of Iran’s nuclear program and is monitored by IAEA inspectors. A spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalondi, said that the Natanz accident included an electrical system that was free from pollution and injuries. He added that the cause of the problem is being investigated. A spokesperson for the agency told Reuters by email that the agency had learned of the news in the media, but would not comment at this stage.
A fire broke out in Natanz last July. Then the government described the case as an attempt to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. In 2010, the Stuxnet computer worm was discovered during an attack on Natanz, whose development is much attributed to the United States and Israel.
Iran announces a major blackout at the center of the Natanz uranium enrichment program. It is said to be a terrorist attack. No more losses. The facility was severely damaged in a powerful explosion last July. https://t.co/KaQU041yCg
JakubSzanto April 11, 2021
Tehran and Washington are now working through mediators to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, as the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany concluded an agreement with Tehran in 2015 to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It included easing sanctions against Iran in exchange for curtailing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and ensuring that it does not develop nuclear weapons. Former US President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and renewed sanctions against Iran. Iran then began violating parts of the agreement.
The current President of the White House, Joe Biden, had said earlier that the United States would return to join the nuclear deal, on the condition that Iran resumes full compliance. On the other hand, Tehran argues that the United States was the first to violate the treaty, so Washington should take the first step and lift its sanctions.
Diplomats in Vienna this week discussed how to preserve the agreement. Iran refused to hold direct talks with the US delegation. At the same time, representatives of Tehran and Washington have indicated that they do not expect a sudden breakthrough.
On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Prohi affirmed Iran’s commitment to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons by launching new and advanced centrifuges in Natanz on Iran’s Nuclear Technology Day.