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Cause of blast at Iran nuclear site – still shrouded in mystery


Iranian MP: Blast at nuclear site was ’caused by a security breach’   Javad Karimi Qoddousi rules out a strike ‘by an external object’ as the cause of a fire that damaged an advanced centrifuge plant at Natanz
By TOI STAFF  22 July 20, 

A building damaged by a fire, at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, in a photo released on July 2, 2020. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

An Iranian lawmaker said Wednesday that a recent blast and fire at the Natanz nuclear site was caused by a “security breach.”

MP Javad Karimi Qoddousi, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security Committee, ruled out “a strike on the complex by an external object” as the cause of the blast, appearing to deny the possibility of a missile attack or airstrike.

“If it was from the outside, we should have seen shrapnel, but there are absolutely no remnants left on the site,” he said, according to Radio Farda.

Qoddousi did not elaborate on what he meant by a “security breach.” Radio Farda noted the Persian term he used can also be translated as an infiltration of security, suggesting the blast came from inside the building.

The blast, which US media reports have attributed to Israel, damaged an advanced centrifuge development and assembly plant.

According to a New York Times report earlier this month, the blast was most likely the result of a bomb planted at the facility, potentially at a strategic gas line, but that it was not out of the question that a cyberattack was used to cause a malfunction that led to the explosion.

The July 2 Natanz explosion was one of a series of mysterious blasts at Iranian strategic sites in recent weeks, which have once again been largely attributed to either Washington, Jerusalem, or both.
The substantial damage done by an explosion and a fire at an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site. (satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

Intelligence officials who assessed the damage to the Netanz centrifuge facility told The Times they believed it may have set back the Iranian nuclear program by as much as two years.

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry has said that the cause of the Natanz explosion was not yet known, but warned that the country would retaliate severely if it emerges that a foreign entity was involved.

Iran has also called for action against Israel following the damage to the Natanz facility. “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 on July 7.

July 23, 2020 - Posted by | incidents, Iran

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