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 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.
“Two intelligence officials briefed on the damage said it had been caused by a large explosion that completely destroyed the independent — and heavily protected — internal power system that supplies the underground centrifuges that enrich uranium,” The New York Times reported. “The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a classified Israeli operation, said that the explosion had dealt a severe blow to Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and that it could take at least nine months to restore Natanz’s production.”
The debilitating strike comes as President Joe Biden seeks a nuclear deal with Iran, leading top former officials to warn that acts of desperation will give up America’s leverage on Iran. Former President Donald Trump, concerned about Biden’s weakness on Iran, reportedly considered launching a strike on the facility before he left office in an attempt to prevent Biden from going back to the Iran nuclear deal. One of Iran’s top nuclear scientists was assassinated during the final weeks of Trump’s term, an event that many believe that Israel was behind.
Following reports last week that Biden was going to lift sanctions on Iran, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Rebeccah Heinrichs told The Daily Wire that “undoing the strategy that was working in the Middle East, and giving Iran what it wants, encourages nuclear blackmail, hostage taking, and terrorism against US bases.”
“What a waste of our leverage,” Heinrichs added. “If this is a preview of the larger Biden Mid East strategy, and it is, forget more normalization agreements between Arab states and Israel. Correctly identifying Iran as the primary source of instability and treating it as such was the bedrock of that success.”
Andrea Stricker, Research Fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Daily Wire that the cyberattack was proof that Israel will do everything in its power to protect itself.
“Israel has shown once again that it will preserve its own security by carrying out acts of sabotage against Iran’s nuclear program,” Stricker said. “It is cleverly using limited attacks against key facilities rather than the large-scale airstrikes that governments have previously debated. The damage may limit for months to come Iran’s ability to fully deploy its tactic of nuclear extortion using the Natanz enrichment plant.”
“The Biden administration needs to come to its senses about re-entering the 2015 nuclear deal and delivering massive sanctions relief to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” Stricker added. “It must realize that these sabotage incidents and other acts to confront Iran will only become more frequent if the U.S. appears poised to release Iran from sanctions.”
Amos Yadlin, the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of Military Intelligence, said on Sunday that it would have been an “extraordinary achievement” if the cyberattack really did knock out all 6,000 centrifuges.
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