The Iranian nuclear official said that Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear facility had suffered significant damage from the fire, which could slow the development of advanced centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
Iran’s top security body said on Friday that the cause of the fire on Thursday had been determined, but would be announced later. Some Iranian officials have said that it could be a cyber sabotage and one has warned that Tehran will retaliate against any country so that such attacks can be carried out.
On Thursday, an article by Iran’s state news agency IRNA addressed what it called the possibility of sabotage by enemies such as Israel and the United States, although it did not directly stop the accusations.
Israel’s defense minister said on Sunday that it was not “necessary” behind every mysterious incident in Iran.
Three Iranian officials spoke to Reuters on Friday on condition of anonymity, saying the fire was believed to have been the result of a cyber attack, but did not cite any evidence.
“This incident could slow down the development and production of advanced centrifuges in the medium term … Iran will replace the damaged building with major advanced equipment,” the news agency IRNA quoted a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization. Saying Bahramaz Kamalwandi.
“The incident has caused a lot of damage but no casualties.”
Separately on Sunday, Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Navy chief said Tehran had built “missile cities” underground along the Gulf Coast and warned of “nightmares for Iran’s enemies”.
Iranian officials have said that such sites exist in all of Iran’s provinces, but have so far unveiled only three bases and have not revealed that they are built on its coast.
Natanz is the centerpiece of Iran’s enrichment program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes. Western intelligence agencies and the United Nations’ Nuclear Watchdog (IAEA) believe it was a coordinated, covert nuclear weapons program that was halted in 2003. Tehran denied the demand for nuclear weapons.
Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in 2015 in exchange for the removal of most international sanctions in a deal between Tehran and six world powers.
But Iran has gradually curtailed its commitment as US President Donald Trump’s administration withdrew from the pact in 2018 and re-intensified and intensified sanctions that damaged Iran’s economy.
The deal allows Iran to enrich uranium at its NatGen facility with only 5,000 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, but Iran has installed new cascades of advanced centrifuges.
Iran, which says it will not negotiate until sanctions are implemented, has vowed to continue building defensive missile capability run by revolutionary guards in defense of Western criticism.
Israel has backed Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy on Tehran, which is intended to force it to agree on a new deal that imposes tougher limits on its nuclear work, curbing its ballistic missile program And ends its regional proxy wars.
In 2010, the Stuxnet computer virus, widely developed by the United States and Israel, was believed to have been used to attack Arnan.
The Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP), Iran’s main uranium enrichment site mostly underground, is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear monitoring agency.
The IAEA said on Friday that there was no nuclear material in the site of the fire and no inspector was present at that time.
Report by hindustantimes.com