Natanz Plant Incident Caused by ‘Act of Nuclear Terrorism’, Iran’s Vice-President Says

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https://sputniknews.com -by Tim Korso

Israeli media earlier alleged that the incident was not an “accident” but the result of a cyberattack, possibly carried out by Tel Aviv. The outlet did not reveal its sources, but Natanz in the past had already fallen victim to a hacker attack via the Stuxnet virus.

Iran’s Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi has announced that Tehran is treating today’s incident involving Natanz nuclear plant’s power grid as an act of “nuclear terrorism”.

“Iran condemns this heinous attack and reminds the international community and the [International Atomic Energy Agency] of the need to combat such acts of nuclear terrorism”, Salehi said.

The vice-president added that the Islamic republic reserves the right to respond appropriately to whoever Tehran finds is guilty of the attack. At the same time, Salehi described today’s incident at the nuclear plant as “evidence” that Iran’s enemies were “failing” to impede the country’s success in the sphere of nuclear energy and in negotiations, by which he presumably meant talks between the US and Tehran on their both returning to the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal.

Earlier, a member of Iran’s parliament, Malek Shariati Niasar said that Tehran also suspects an act of “sabotage” caused the incident at the nuclear facility, which did not result in casualties or pollution, but led to the shutdown of its power grid. He noted that the power grid incident took place on Iran’s National Nuclear Technology Day and also amid attempts to return the US to complying with the Iran nuclear deal and lift its sanctions.

The events at the Natanz plant also unfolded the day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced the start of using new advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment – IR-6 and IR-5. Tehran had previously been banned from using any centrifuges except for the first generation ones under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal). However, the country has been gradually backtracking on its commitments since the US withdrew from the treaty in 2018. Now, the two countries are attempting to agree on terms of returning to the JCPOA compliance.

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