Iran claims it thwarted a “sabotage attack” on a nuclear facility
Tehran, Iran – The Iranian authorities have thwarted a “sabotage attack” against a civilian nuclear facility near the capital of the country, Iranian media reported on Wednesday. Details of the alleged incident remained scarce.
Nournews, a website believed to be aroundThe country’s Supreme National Security Council first reported the attack. The website said the move was foiled “before it caused any loss or damage to the sprawling center in Karaj town”. Authorities were said to be investigating the alleged sabotage but did not provide any further details about what it was or how it was carried out.
Karaj, a commuter city just 40 kilometers west of the capital Tehran, was one of the places across the country where major protests against the government had broken out in recent years.
When asked for comment, an Iranian official referred to the Nournews report. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to discuss the matter with the media. The Iranian state television carried the report in its news ticker without giving any further details. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations body that oversees Tehran’s nuclear program, did not immediately respond to the request for comment.
The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization describes the Karaj Nuclear Center for Medicine and Agriculture as a facility founded in 1974 that uses nuclear technology to improve “the quality of soil, water, agriculture and livestock”.
The area is close to various industrial and government sites, including pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities where Iran manufactured its domestic coronavirus vaccine and cancer drugs. There is also a large research and test center for conventional missiles and a facility of the Iranian space agency near Karaj.
The reported sabotage follows several suspected attacks on Iran’s nuclear program in recent months as diplomatic efforts gain momentum in Vienna to revive Tehran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
In what CBS News’ senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer says, it appears to have been a shot in the bow for Iran during the ongoing negotiations, according to the Biden administrationon Tuesday. The Justice Department said the websites were linked to efforts to spread disinformation among American voters.
Palmer said most websites would be up and running on various domains by Wednesday morning after the Iranian government ridiculed the American action as bullying, proving that the US didn’t really believe in freedom of expression.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the nuclear deal and re-imposed devastating sanctions, sparking a series of tense incidents that threatened the entire Middle East.
Iran’s underground nuclear facility at Natanz experienced one in Aprilthat damaged some of his centrifuges. Last July, the advanced centrifuge assembly plant in Natanz was struck by a mysterious fire that the authorities later described as sabotage. Iran is now rebuilding this facility deep inside a nearby mountain.
It is widely believed that Israel carried out the sabotage, although it did not claim it did. Iran also blamed Israel for Novemberwho had started the country’s military nuclear program decades earlier.
Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal has resulted in Iran abandoning all restrictions on uranium enrichment over time. The country is now enriching uranium to 60%, its highest level ever, although it is still not weapon grade. Iran has stated that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful and that it will return to its commitments once the US lift its sanctions.