Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, accused Israel of sabotaging the main nuclear site in Natanz on Sunday, describing it as a “very bad gamble.”
He said that his country would work to operate more advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium in Natanz in the near future.
Zarif added that the attack would strengthen Tehran’s position in talks with major powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal from which the United States withdrew three years ago.
Iran had announced that the Natanz nuclear facility had been subjected to a “nuclear terrorist act,” and Zarif vowed to retaliate for the attack on the facility, pointing the finger of blame at Israel.
Iranian officials said that the Natanz uranium enrichment reactor was the target of “nuclear terrorism” on Sunday, after it was initially reported that there was a blackout.
Israel did not comment on the matter, but public radio quoted intelligence sources as saying that it was an electronic Mossad operation.
The sources said that the operation caused more damage than Iran reported, and US intelligence officials told the “New York Times” that a large explosion completely destroyed the internal independent power system that was supplying the centrifuges inside the underground facility.
The European Union said that it still needs to clarify the facts of what happened in Natanz, stressing at the same time that it rejected “any attempts to undermine or weaken diplomatic efforts on the nuclear agreement.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, had said earlier during a press conference in the capital, Tehran, that Israel was “of course” behind the attack on Natanz, adding, “This incident, fortunately, did not cause any harm to human lives or the environment.” .
Khatibzadeh said that only the less efficient “IR1” centrifuges were damaged in the accident, and that they would be replaced by advanced devices.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mention the incident at a ceremony held on Sunday with army and intelligence chiefs. But he said, “The battle against Iran and its proxies and their conversion to nuclear weapons is a huge task.”
Israel recently intensified its warnings about its arch-foe’s nuclear program, amid efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by former US President Donald Trump.
His successor, Joe Biden, has said he wants to return to the historic accord.
But Iran and the five other international powers that are still a party to it (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) need to find a way to lift US sanctions and return Iran to the agreed-upon limits on its nuclear program.
And US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said efforts to revive the deal will continue, according to the Associated Press.