Natanz Incident No Clearer as Smoke Clears

  • Last week, the international media, including the New York Times, reported that Israel was responsible for the explosion in Natanz.
  • However, some Iranian officials do not take seriously the claim of Israel's role in the blast.
  • There were also disputes as whether the explosions had an effect on Iran's nuclear capabilities.

It’s been more than ten days since explosions were monitored at the Natanz nuclear facility, and the speculation market is still hot. Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, announced at a press conference that the issue of the explosion at the facility was being investigated by security officials.

On 2 July 2020, a fire and explosion hit around 2 a.m. local time a centrifuge production plant at a nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz. A group known as the “Cheetahs of the Homeland” claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last week, the international media, including the New York Times, reported that Israel was responsible for the explosion in Natanz. New York Times reporters even reported that the attack on the Natanz nuclear facility had long been planned by Israel with the knowledge of the United States.

“If a regime or a government is involved in the Natanz incident, Iran will react decisively,” said Mousavi.

Position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran

About the explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility, Mousavi said “after summarizing, a full report will be presented in this regard and then, we will take the necessary actions in accordance with the findings that will be made after the investigation.”

Contrary to reports that Mousavi had reported an explosion at an advanced centrifuge production facility at the Natanz facility, he claimed that the site of the explosion was inactive.

Another spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, quoted by Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, claimed that the explosion on July 3 had no effect on Iran’s nuclear activities.

Meanwhile, international media, including the New York Times, quoted nuclear experts as saying that the explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility had delayed the production of Iran’s advanced centrifuges and, consequently, Iran’s nuclear program for two years.

Mousavi also claimed that the media, which blamed the Israeli government for the blast, was in fact pursuing the goal of making the country look powerful. A State Department spokesman described Israel’s military power as “empty.”

“The incident could slow down the development and production of advanced centrifuges in the medium term,” said Kamalvandi. “Iran will replace the damaged building with a bigger one that has more advanced equipment.”

Giving Wings to Rumors

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) together with the European Union.

In connection with the explosion at the Natanz facility, the website Khabar Online interviewed Mohammad Ismail Kowsari, the former deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Sarollah base, and a former member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

Kowsari claimed in the interview that Israel was using “foreign media and social networks to try to take this incident by surprise and bluff it.” Kowsari claims that Israel and the United States “have been hit by Iran and cannot do anything but spread rumors and say that we can do something too.”

The former deputy commander of Sarullah base also said in the interview that rumors about Israel’s role in the attack on Natanz were “pure lies.”

Meanwhile, Kamalvandi, in an article published in the Etemad newspaper on Monday, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Iran Nuclear Deal, referred to the statements of political circles and the contents of Western media reports about the Nazanz bombing.

The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a crowd of 2,000 people, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Kamalvandi went on to say that the Islamic Republic’s response to the bombing would be “smart and deliberate, based on the three principles of honor, wisdom, and decisively.” He did not elaborate.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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