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July 13, 2020 12:14 pm

Iran Threatens Retaliation if It Concludes a ‘Regime’ or ‘Government’ Behind Natanz Nuclear Facility Blast

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A view of a damaged building after a fire broke out at Iran’s Natanz Nuclear Facility,, in Isfahan, Iran, July 2, 2020. Photo: Atomic Energy Organization of Iran / WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters.

Iran threatened retaliation on Monday should it determine that a state actor was behind a recent explosion at the Natanz Nuclear Facility.

The semi-official state news agency Mehr quoted an Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying, “The necessary explanations on this incident have been declared by experts of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and the Secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). 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.

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

The incident — initially described as a “fire” — took place July 2, and was described as causing “significant damage.”

Three Iranian officials — who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity — said they believed the fire was the result of a cyber-attack, but did not cite any evidence.

“The incident could slow down the development and production of advanced centrifuges in the medium term,” the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, was quoted as saying.

“The incident has caused significant damage, but there were no casualties,” he continued.

The New York Times reported last week that the incident was, in fact, an explosion and the result of what appeared to be a carefully-planned operation.

Citing two anonymous “intelligence officials,” the Times said it could take the Iranian nuclear program two years to recover.

The explosion has been widely attributed to Israel, but the Jewish state’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, stated, “Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us.”

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