Iran promises revenge after claiming Israel behind attacks at nuclear site

A distribution image from Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (aeoinews) shows a warehouse after it was damaged at the Natanz plant, one of Iran’s most important uranium enrichment plants, south of the capital Tehran. Photo: AFP / Handout

TEHRAN: Iran on Monday promised revenge on Israel after it claimed Tel Aviv was behind an attack on the Natanz uranium enrichment plant carried out a day earlier.

“Obviously, with this action, the Zionist regime sought to avenge the people of Iran for their patience and prudent stance on the lifting of (US) sanctions,” spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference.

Khatibzadeh indirectly accused Israel of trying to push negotiations into resumption of a milestone nuclear deal.

The Sunday incident, which Iran called an act of “anti-nuclear terrorism”, came a day after Tehran said it had launched advanced uranium centrifuges at Natanz, a breach of its commitments during the 2015 unrest with world powers.

The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reintroduced sanctions, prompting Iran to retaliate by gradually reversing its own commitments.

Iran’s spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization had previously reported an accident in Natanz caused by a “power outage” with no damage or pollution.

According to Khatibzadeh, the attack affected a number of first-generation IR-1 centrifuges “, all of which will be replaced by advanced ones”.

He promised that Iran’s response to the attack would be “revenge on the Zionist regime” when and where Tehran chooses.

“If the purpose was to interrupt the way to lift the repressive sanctions against Iran, they will certainly not achieve their goal.”

The Natanz incident followed an initial round of negotiations in Vienna on Tuesday with representatives of the remaining parties to the nuclear deal.

Negotiations are focused on lifting US sanctions that former President Donald Trump has reintroduced on Iran, and on bringing Tehran back in line with the agreement.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that Tehran would not allow the attack to affect the Vienna talks or weaken its position, the state news agency IRNA reported.

He stressed the need to avoid “falling into the trap” that Israel had set, it said.

“We do not allow (Israel to derail the talks) and we take revenge for these actions against the Zionists,” Zarif was quoted as saying by members of parliament during a parliamentary session, IRNA reported.

amh / mj / par

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