Tehran claims Natanz nuclear plant accident result of 'terrorism' (Israeli)

Explosion caused by a short to electrical circuit of the enrichment plant. According to the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization it is "anti-nuclear terrorism". There were no deaths, injuries or pollution. Experts and intelligence speak of a "cyber-attack" by Israel.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Accident or act of terrorism? The Iranian authorities have no doubts about the second hypothesis regarding yesterday’s explosion in the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, in the center of the Islamic Republic.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Iranian Organization for Atomic Energy (Oiea), speaks of "anti-nuclear terrorism" a few days after the inauguration of a new centrifuges at the Chahid-Ahmadi-Rochan complex - one of the country's main ones. According to experts, the latter constitute a "violation" of the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement (JCPOA).

"We had an accident - explains Kamalvandi – to the electrical circuit of the enrichment [...] plant, a shortage and we do not know the cause". Hours later, the problem had not yet been resolved but, he adds, “luckily we have not had any deaths, injuries or pollution. There are no other particular problems. We have opened an investigation on the matter - he concludes - but at the moment we do not have more information."

According to some experts, who relaunch intelligence sources, Israel is behind the incident, which launched a "cyber-attack" on the plant. The government declined to comment, although in recent days the highest officials - including outgoing premier Benjamin Netanyahu - have repeatedly raised the alarm against the dangers inherent in the Iranian nuclear program. Amichai Stein, an Israeli public sector journalist, in a message on social media believes that "the default on the Natanz electricity circuit is due to an Israeli cyber-operation".

Last July, a mysterious explosion caused severe damage to an advanced centrifuge assembly plant in Natanz. At the time Tehran had spoken of "sabotage" and "terrorist act", without ever revealing the results of the investigations, while the official agency Irna warned Israel and the United States against hostile actions against Iran.

 A few hours before the last accident at the plant, President Hassan Rouhani had remotely inaugurated the new centrifuge assembly plant, which offers the possibility of enriching uranium faster and with larger quantities.

Last week, new talks between Tehran and world powers (including the United States), mediated by the European Union, on the restoration of the Iranian nuclear agreement (JCPOA) kicked off in Vienna.

Commenting on the dialogues, Rouhani spoke of a "new chapter" in international diplomatic relations and his US counterpart Joe Biden said he was ready to cancel Trump's decisions. However, unresolved issues remain on the table, including Washington’s reintegration mechanism and Iran’s return to full compliance with the terms of the JCPOA, which have been violated several times.