Incident at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility due to ‘security breach’: Lawmaker

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The explosion at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility early July was due to a “security breach,” an Iranian lawmaker said Wednesday.

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI) said on July 2 that an accident had taken place at a construction site in the Natanz nuclear site in central Iran without causing casualties.

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Iran said a day later it determined the cause of the “accident” at Natanz but declined to release details citing security reasons.

“A security breach is our definitive conclusion,” Javad Karimi Ghodoosi, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, told the parliament’s website ICANA.

Ghodoosi did not give any further details on the security breach that he said took place.

A building after it was damaged by a fire, at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Iran, July 2, 2020. (AP)
A building after it was damaged by a fire, at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Iran, July 2, 2020. (AP)

Ghodoosi ruled out that “an object from outside” struck the nuclear facility, meaning he does not believe the facility was subject to an airstrike or a missile attack.

“If an external object had hit the facility, we should have seen shrapnel, but based on the investigations, absolutely nothing has been found,” he said.

Iranian officials and state media have persistently ruled out that the explosion at Natanz was due to an airstrike or cyber sabotage.

Government spokesman Ali Rabei said on Tuesday investigations are yet to reach a final conclusion. He also ruled out any Israeli involvement.

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Iran reports ‘accident’ in construction near Iran’s Natanz nuclear site

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“Some media outlets and media activists, who mainly work with the Mossad, have linked the Natanz incident to the Israeli regime in a planned and coordinated effort to portray a powerful image of the Israeli regime,” Rabei said.

Some media reports suggested that Israel may have been behind some of the recent incidents in Iran, especially the incident at Natanz.

Three Iranian officials who spoke to Reuters said they thought cyber sabotage had been involved at Natanz but offered no evidence. Two said Israel could have been behind it.

Some Iran watchers say the Iranian regime is refraining from admitting to an Israeli involvement in order to “save face.”

Admitting to an Israeli involvement will also require a response from Iran which the regime likely does not have the capacity for, they say.

Israel has not claimed any responsibility for any attacks in Iran.

A report by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security said that the explosion at Natanz has caused “likely irreparable“ damage to parts of the site, marking a “significant” setback to Tehran’s aspirations to mass produce advanced centrifuges.