Friday, May 7, 2021

Israeli army chief indicates possible role in Iran nuclear incident


Iranian authorities confirmed an “incident” in Natzan on Sunday, an underground facility where Uranium enrichment takes place. “Fortunately, no human was injured or leaked from the incident,” said Behrooz Kamalwand, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). “The cause of the accident is being investigated and further information will be announced later.”

AEOI condemned the incident, calling it “terrorist action”, according to the Iranian Telegram Channel of the Revolution Guard Corps, or IRGC, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces.

Malek Shariti Nieser, Member of Parliament of Iran, said, “The blackout on the anniversary of National Atomic Day is questionable and may be due to sabotage while Iran is trying to convince Western countries to lift the ban.” The news website Entekhab.ir reported.

Just hours after the incident was reported by Iranian authorities, Israel’s army chief Aviv Kochavi said that the country’s operations throughout the Middle East are not hidden from the enemy’s eyes.

He has seen us looking at the abilities and considering his footsteps to mark the soldiers speaking on Sunday at a memorial event in Jerusalem.

Reports in several Israeli media outlets on Sunday quoted intelligence officials as saying that Israel’s national intelligence agency, Mossad, was responsible for the incident. Although some descriptions of unnamed officials are presented, some outlets have described them as “Western intelligence sources”, although it is not immediately clear whether “Western” includes the possibility that the sources are from Israel.

The Prime Minister’s Office of Israel did not comment on the reports, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Iran in a toast on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.

“The conflict against Iran and its proximate and Iranian armament efforts is a much larger mission, with the Israeli Defense Forces chief Kochavi and his senior commanders, as well as Defense Minister Benny Gantz,” he said. “The situation that exists today, may not necessarily exist tomorrow.”

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin on Monday, who is visiting the country. It is the highest level visit to Israel by a member of the Biden administration and is aimed at resuming negotiations on a possible new nuclear deal by Iran and the US-led world powers a few days after the talks in Vienna.

US officials were also in Vienna and met with representatives of global powers, who are still in favor of the deal. They did not meet the Iranian authorities directly.

Former US President Donald Trump began imposing new sanctions on Iran as he withdrew the United States from the pact. Iranian officials said the US has lifted all Trump-era sanctions and must return to the nuclear deal before it again complies with the agreement.

The Israeli leader reiterated his strong opposition this week, delving into the possibility of a joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), stating that Israel “will not be bound by any agreement that paves the way for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.” Does. “

Iran condemned ‘terrorist action’

Leaders in Iran condemned the incident.

The IRGC reported that the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Akbar Salehi, said, “Iran reserves the right to react against criminals, and those who have committed terrorist actions.”

“Today’s attack shows that Iran’s enemies and advances in nuclear science, as well as nuclear talks, are in hostility, taking terrorist actions against nuclear technology in Nataza.” [nuclear facility]”

In the Iranian news agency report, other Iranian officials suggested that the facility may be attacked, speculating that the plant may have been targeted as the country discusses the revival of the Iran nuclear deal with its Western signatories .

A spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency told CNN by email on Sunday that the agency was aware of media reports.

“We have no comment at this stage,” he said.

On Saturday, during the 15th anniversary of Iran’s National Nuclear Technology Day, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced new uranium enrichment centrifuges at the plant, stating that Iran’s nuclear activities are for “peaceful and civil purposes” in the country. The nuclear capability was also strong at any time. before time.

“Today, a series of 164 IR-6 centrifuges was launched,” Rouhani said, according to state-run Press TV on Saturday. “It can provide us with 10 times more products than the prior series.”

The Natanz nuclear plant lost a building when it caught fire last July. The Iranian government said at the time that it was an attack on its nuclear program. It was also the target of the Stuxnet cyberbat in 2010, which security experts believe was carried out by Israel and the US.

CNN’s Andrew Carey and Amir Tal from Jerusalem, Ramin Mostagim from Tehran, Sarah Dean from London reported.

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