Iran nuclear body said on Sunday that the last month’s fire at a major nuclear facility at Natanz was caused by sabotage. However, Tehran’s Atomic Energy Organization did not say that who was behind this incident.
Previously, some Iranian officials said that the fire might have been the result of cyber sabotage by foreign elements. It comes after several explosions and fires at power facilities and other sites in recent weeks.
An IAEO spokesperson, Behrouz Kamalvandi, told the state media that the security authorities would reveal the reason behind the incident at the nuclear facility in due time. The fire at the Natanz Nuclear facility hit the centrifuge assembly workshop.
Centrifuges are needed to produce enriched uranium, which can be used to make reactor fuel and nuclear explosives. Last month, Kamalvandi said Tehran would replace the damaged building with a new one with more advanced equipment but added that the fire could slow down the production and development of advanced centrifuges in the medium term.
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Meanwhile, ana article in an Iranian newspaper also explored the possibility of a cyber attack by rivals such as the US and Israel, however, it did not accuse any country directly.
Natanz is Iran’s largest nuclear enrichment facility, located nearly 150 miles from the capital, Tehran. Earlier this month, an international newspaper, Bloomberg published the report of the UN’s nuclear watchdog that concluded in its report that Tehran was attempting to boost its uranium enrichment plant.
However, if it is true, this is in stark violation of the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015 signed with major world powers. Under the deal, Iran agreed to produce only low-enriched uranium with nearly 3-4 percent concentration of U-235 and can be used to fuel nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, the weapons-grade Uranium is more than 90 percent enriched.
It also agreed to install no more than 5,060 of the least efficient and the oldest centrifuges at Natanz facility until 2026. Moreover, not to carry out any enrichment activity in its underground Fordo facility until 2031.
In exchange for all the agreed claused of the landmark deal brokered by the Obama administration, Iran was given relief in international sanctions. Last year, Tehran started rolling back its commitments after the US President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal and reinstated unilateral sanctions amid the pandemic outbreak.
Earlier in November, Iran’s nuclear authorities stated that it had doubled the number of advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility and had also begun injection uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges at Fordo facility.
Meanwhile, the Natanz facility remains one of the several facilities monitored by IAEA to ensure Tehran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. Rafael Grossi, the new chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, said on Saturday that he would visit Tehran to request access to two suspected former nuclear sites.
It believes that in the earlier 2000s at these sites, the IAEA suspects the development of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Iran has consistently maintained that its nuclear program is not intended for military purposes. State media also reported that Grossi’s visit is not related to moving by the UN and the US to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
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