Iran’s top diplomat accuses Israel of attacking Natanz nuclear facility
This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Photo: Planet Labs Inc., AP)
Iran’s top diplomat on Monday accused Israel of being responsible for a mysterious electrical blackout at its underground Natanz atomic facility.
The accusation from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif comes as world powers and Tehran have renewed diplomatic efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal exited by former President Donald Trump. Ongoing talks are taking place in Vienna.
“The Zionists want to take revenge on the Iranian people for their success in lifting the oppressive sanctions, but we will not allow it and we will take revenge on the Zionists themselves,” Zarif said in comments Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
‘A game of chicken’: US holds indirect talks with Iran over nuclear deal amid conflicting political pressure
The Natanz outage took place Sunday, when the head of Iran’s civilian nuclear agency Ali Akbar Salehi blamed “nuclear terrorism” but Salehi stopped short of directly pointing the finger at Israel. Israel has not commented on the allegation.
However for months Israel has sounded warnings about Iran’s nuclear activities and voiced its strong opposition to resuming the deal. Multiple Israeli media outlets reported that the incident was the result of a cyber-attack aimed at sabotaging the site.
“Let’s be clear about the purpose of these latest Israel attacks on Iranian facilities. It is not to ‘set back Iran’s nuclear program’ as will be widely claimed,” John Ghazvinian, executive director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote on Twitter. “It is to set back diplomacy. And it’s not a new tactic.”
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