Iran blames Israel for Natanz incident, vows revenge

The Natanz uranium-enrichment site is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Natanz uranium-enrichment site is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - Iran blames its regional arch-foe Israel for Sunday's (April 11) incident at the Natanz nuclear site and will take its revenge, state TV quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on Monday.

Iranian authorities described the incident a day earlier as an act of "nuclear terrorism" and said Teheran reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators. "The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions... they have publicly said that they will not allow this. But we will take our revenge from the Zionists," Mr Zarif was quoted as saying.

Iran said it had identified the person who disrupted flow of power at the Natanz nuclear facility, Iran’s Nournews website quoted intelligence sources as saying.

“The person has been identified ... Necessary measures are being taken to arrest this person who caused the electricity outage in one of the halls at the Natanz site,” the website reported. It gave no details about the person.

Multiple Israeli media outlets have quoted unnamed intelligence sources as saying that the country's Mossad spy service carried out a successful sabotage operation at the Natanz site, potentially setting back enrichment work there by months. Israel has not formally commented on the incident.

The Natanz uranium-enrichment site, much of which is underground, is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

The latest disruption is the second suspicious incident at Natanz in less than a year. Last July, an explosion and fire caused significant damage to an outbuilding that contained an assembly line for centrifuge machines, officials said at the time, blaming sabotage and foreign interference.

In 2010, Natanz was the target of a major cyber attack using the Stuxnet computer virus that has been widely blamed on Israel and the United States.