Information about the accident that occurred on July 2 at Natanz’s Safe Complex, one of the most important centers of the Iranian nuclear program, does not filter. However, the Supreme Council of National Security announced on Friday to know the causes “with precision”.
Is it an accident or sabotage? The causes of the accident at Iran’s nuclear complex Natanz on Thursday, July 2, have still not been revealed. Iran’s Supreme Security Council has announced that it has “precisely” determined the causes. And to add, Friday, that they would be revealed to the public at the “appropriate time”.
How can “one of the hangars built into the (envelope) of the Natanz site” be damaged? The statement from the Iranian organization Atomic Energy (OIEA) is confused.
“It was a warehouse without” radioactive material “, there was no workforce in place and we had no injuries,” OIEA spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on TV.
OIEA then publishes a photo of a tall brick building on a floor, with few openings, part of the outer wall blackened by fire, a tip of the roof apparently collapsed and a double outer door, some of which hinges appear to have jumped.
State TV in turn shows some pictures of the building but no pictures of the interior.
On Sunday night, in a new interview, this time with the official agency Irna, Behrouz Kamalvandi acknowledges “significant damage at the economic level”, without providing more information.
But the spokesman said above all that the damaged building was designed to eventually produce “advanced centrifuges”, and even suggests that the assembly of such machines could have begun before the “accident”.
A Natanz Nuclear Complex?
The Natanz Martyr-Ahmadi-Rochan complex, located approximately 250 kilometers south of Tehran, is one of the most important centers of the Iranian nuclear program, located under very high security.
According to the International Iranian Nuclear Agreement concluded in Vienna in 2015, the Islamic Republic agreed to produce only uranium enriched therein at a maximum of 3.67%, with a limited number (5,060) of so-called first generation centrifuges (IR-1).
But since mid-2019, Iran has produced 4.5% enriched uranium, far from more than 90% required for military purposes. And this, in accordance with its policy of gradually decoupling from the Vienna Agreement, which began in May 2019, in response to the decision made one year earlier by Washington to unilaterally terminate this pact and restore heavy financial sanctions against Tehran.
In its latest monitoring report on Iranian nuclear activities published in June, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) notes that Iran transforms Natanz into five cascades of centrifuges more modern than IR-1, not only to test these models but also to produce and store enriched uranium, contrary to what the 2015 agreement provides for.
Contrary to its commitments, Iran has also announced that it is working to develop more efficient centrifuges without restrictions.
Accident, sabotage, cyber attack?
On Friday, the Supreme National Security Council announced that “the causes of the accident” in Natanz had been determined “with precision” but that “for some security reasons” would not be disclosed to the public before the “moment” in good time “.
From the evening of July 2, Irna published a broadcast in the form of an editorial, filled with inuendo, noting that “certain stories of the Zionist regime” immediately “attributed the accident to an Israeli sabotage”. The article also warned Israel and the United States against any attack on Iran’s “security” and “interests”.
A Twitter account attributed to an Israeli analyst posted a statement in Arabic on July 1, claiming that Israel had attacked an enrichment facility in Iran, Iran.
BBC Persian, the service in Persian from the British public audiovisual, for its part, confirms to have received “several hours before” delivering the first news of the “accident”, a press release from an unknown organization, “Cheetahs” of the Fatherland, poses as a group “of dissidents within the Iranian security apparatus” and claiming an “attack on the Natanz nuclear power center”.
Natanz’s “accident” occurred after a week marked by two explosions in Tehran, one of which was near a military site. These events have been officially presented as accidents, but many Iranians see them as a result of hidden Israeli acts.
Without denying that this could be the case, Brigadier General Gholam Réza Jalali, Iran’s passive defense chief, declared on Thursday night that all “cyberattacks” against Iranian installations, if proven, would receive “answers”.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is ambiguous: “Iran wants nuclear power (bomb), we can’t let it get there,” but “we are not necessarily linked to any incident that is happening in Iran,” he said on Sunday night.
The Islamic Republic has always denied that they are trying to get a nuclear weapon.