On Sunday morning, Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility located about 250 km from the Iranian capital Tehran was hit with a major power breakdown.
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Spokesman, Behrouz Kamalvandi said that an “incident” had occurred in the morning involving the nuclear facility’s power network. He added that no casualties or leaks occurred.
It’s worth mentioning that Iran was celebrating its National Nuclear Day when the heavily guarded and secretive facility constructed almost entirely underground was attacked.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Monday that emergency power systems were put into operation after the attack and that “enrichment in Natanz has not stopped and is moving forward vigorously.”
Just a day before, on Saturday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated new centrifuges at the nuclear facility at Natanz in a ceremony that was broadcast live on television. The country launched a chain of 164 IR-6 centrifuges at the plant while began testing IR-9 centrifuge which they claim will enrich uranium 50 times faster that Iran’s first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.
Who was behind the attack?
The Chief of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, AlI Akbar Salehi in a statement read out on the state broadcaster labelled the incident as “sabotage and “nuclear terrorism”.
Mr Salehi said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran emphasises the need for the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] to deal with this nuclear terrorism.”
In a stark warning to Iran’s enemies, he added, “”Iran reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators.”
Israel’s army chief Aviv Kochavi at a remembrance event in Jerusalem to mark fallen soldiers, said the country’s “operations throughout the Middle East are not hidden from the eyes of the enemies.”
He added, “They are watching us, seeing the capabilities and carefully considering their steps.”
On Monday, the Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, while clearly blaming Israel for the power cut at Natanz nuclear facility, vowed “revenge against the Zionists”.
In a statement broadcast by Iranian state television, Mr. Zarif was quoted as saying, “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions.”
He added, “But we will take our revenge from the Zionists,” according to the broadcast.
According to The New York Times, American and Israeli officials confirmed that they had something to do with the blackout.
How did Mossad carry out such an operation?
According to some officials having access to information, the power breakdown was caused by a blast that targeted the power supply for the underground centrifuges being used to enrich uranium at the facility at Natanz.
The Iranian intelligence has claimed that an individual in contact with the Israeli agencies was involved in the attack. He sabotaged the nuclear facility while being in the plant’s hall by disrupting the flow of electricity to the centrifuges.
In an unusual development, the former Israeli Defence Forces Chief of Military intelligence, Amos Yadlin voiced concern over the incident on Sunday, saying that “An electricity cut caused by a cyberattack would not be a significant problem if Iran has backup systems, such as generators.”
If they call it “nuclear terror, it means damage was caused to the centrifuges and uranium stockpiles there,” he surmised.
A spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said on Monday that the blast had created a crater so big that he had fallen into it, injuring his face.
Israeli media while quoting credible sources in the intelligence claimed that Israel’s Mossad security service was behind the power outage.