On Monday, the Iranian regime vowed revenge against Israel after Israel was accused of causing Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear site to suffer an electricity outage that could set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.
“A cyberattack allegedly conducted by Israel’s Mossad caused damage to Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility that was so ‘severe’ that the facility might not be able to continue enriching uranium until next year,” The Daily Wire reported Monday. “The strike came only a day after Iranian officials bragged on the nation’s National Nuclear Technology Day about its new centrifuges, which expedite the process needed to create nuclear weapons.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated, “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions… We will not fall into their trap…We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks. … But we will take our revenge against the Zionists.”
Iran’s semi-official Nour news website claimed the person responsible for the outage had been identified, asserting, “Necessary measures are being taken to arrest this person.”
The Biden administration is seeking to reenter the much-maligned Iran nuclear deal, which would entail lifting sanctions imposed by the Trump administration meant to undermine the Iranian regime, the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Iranian nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi claimed that enrichment of uranium at the site had not stopped as a result of the outage, saying, “All of the centrifuges that went out of circuit at Natanz site were of the IR-1 type. … Our nuclear experts are assessing the damage but I can assure you that Iran will replace damaged uranium enrichment centrifuges in Natanz with advanced ones.”
“The 2015 deal only allows Iran to enrich with up to 5,060 IR-1 machines, in a plant designed to house around 50,000, but it has begun enriching at Natanz with hundreds of advanced centrifuges including the IR-2m,” Reuters reported.
This is not the first time the Natanz site has been targeted. In 2010, the Stuxnet computer virus, attributed to the U.S. and Israel, caused breakdowns of centrifuge cascades. As The Jerusalem Post reported, Stuxnet “succeeded in destroying more than 1,000 centrifuges, causing significant delays to Iran’s nuclear program. The Stuxnet code caused the engines in Iran’s IR-1 centrifuges to increase and decrease their speed. Iran usually ran its motors at 1,007 cycles per second to prevent damage, while Stuxnet seemed to increase the motor speed to 1,064 cycles per second, causing the engines to explode.”
In July 2020, a fire and explosion erupted at the site. Asked about the explosion, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told the Jerusalem Post, “We know what is happening everywhere” in the Islamic Republic, and “Whoever wants to threaten Israel’s existence will have no immunity anywhere…. I say to Iran, don’t put Israel’s determination to the test.”
The Albright think tank said of the 2020 explosion, “High-resolution commercial satellite imagery… shows that the Iran Centrifuge Assembly Center at the Natanz Enrichment Site has suffered significant, extensive and likely irreparable damage to its main assembly hall section. … This new facility, inaugurated in 2018, was critical to the mass production of advanced centrifuges, in particular the assembly of rotor assemblies, the rapidly spinning part of the centrifuge and its most crucial component.”
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