A senior Iranian official blamed Israel on Monday for a sabotage attack on its underground nuclear facility at Natanz in what Tehran called an act of “nuclear terrorism.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh represented the first official charge against Israel for Sunday’s incident that cut power to the facility.
Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, is said to have appeared on the country’s state television and blamed “Zionists” who seek “revenge for our progress in lifting the sanctions … they have said publicly. that they wouldn’t allow it. But we will take our revenge on the Zionists. “
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The New York Times reported that the Natanz nuclear facility suffered from a power outage that appeared to have been caused by an intentional explosion. The newspaper said Israel declined to comment on the reported attack. The Times reported that US and Israeli officials have confirmed an Israeli role.
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The Jerusalem Post reported that Iran boasted on Saturday that it operated advanced centrifuges at the facility.
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The alleged attack also complicates efforts by the United States, Israel’s main security partner, to enter into the atomic deal aimed at limiting Tehran’s program so that it cannot use nuclear weapons.
As news of the power outage emerged, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Israel on Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
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Ali Vaez, the Iranian project director at the International Crisis Group, told The Times: “It’s hard to imagine that this was a cyber attack. The likely scenario is that it targeted the facility indirectly. or by physical infiltration. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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