Although the Iranian authorities initially dismissed the explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility last week as an accident that caused little damage, they later admitted that the incident posed a significant setback to Iran’s nuclear agenda. Nour News, an Iranian news agency considered close to the Iranian government, has now confirmed that the facility suffered a deliberate attack.
In a commentary issued on July 7, the agency noted that a “combination of intelligence, logistics, action and the volume of destruction” indicates a cause more severe than mere malfunction, Radio Farda reports.
According to the spokesperson’s claims, an airstrike against Natanz was unfeasible, but the facility’s above-ground centrifuge manufacturing site rendered it vulnerable to attack. An image released by the Iranian media of the building depicts a collapsing roof, crumbling walls, and external features peeling away from the frame.
“There are a lot of similarities between the incident in Natanz and the assassination of General Soleimani," Nour News went on to suggest.
Iranian officials have indicted Israel as the most likely perpetrator. “This method Israel is using is dangerous, and it could spread to anywhere in the world,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said during a press conference. “The international community must respond and set limits to these dangerous actions by the Zionist regime.” Israel’s Channel 12 news translated the statement.
Other alleged culpable parties include the United States and a “certain Arab country,” Amir Mousavi, a former Iranian diplomat, said in an interview with Russia Today TV. While he did not explicitly condemn any particular country, he warned that Iran could seek revenge.
“I believe that the relevant officials have received instructions to direct a punishing, powerful and swift retaliation against whoever decided to participate in this,” he said.
Later in the interview, he stated that “if it was proven” that the suspected nations had attacked Natanz, Iran has enough cyber and military capabilities to inflict serious damage.
Secretary Pompeo said that he had no comment when asked during a news briefing this morning if the United States was involved in the Natanz incident.
Dr. Salehi, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, expressed Iran’s intention to rebuild Natanz and recommence assembly of advanced centrifuges.
Reports of another explosion at a factory near Tehran surfaced Tuesday, the latest in a series of mysterious incendiary events. Authorities issued an official cause for each explosion except the one at Natanz, postponing the announcement due to “security concerns.”
Also on Tuesday, Iranian news agencies denied reports of an explosion at the Yazd nuclear facility, claiming that local “anti-Revolution media … aimed at the terrorist and warmonger regime of Israel to promote propaganda campaigns, disappointment, and following US pressures on Iranians.”