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Iran Reports Electrical ‘Incident’ at Natanz a Day After Advanced Centrifuges Spun Up

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A view of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility 250 km (155 miles) south of the Iranian capital Tehran, March 30, 2005. Photo: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi – Iranian state media reported an “incident” at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility on Sunday, a day after advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges were spun up at the site as part of its “National Nuclear Technology Day.”

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told Iran’s Fars News Agency that the incident involved the electricity distribution network at the facility, and had caused no casualties or pollution.

The accident is under investigation and additional information will be announced later, he said.

Giora Eiland, a former head of the Israel Defense Forces Operations Branch, said that the power outage could have been sabotage.

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“According to reports, this was not a power cut that you can solve by flicking a switch back up,” he told Army Radio.

Eiland, who is also a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, said that the installation of new equipment at the facility might have created an opportunity for a potential attacker, “whether through cyber [means] or through other damaging means placed in centrifuges ahead of time.”

The possibility that Israel was behind the incident could not be ruled out, he added.

“It’s not a secret that Israel tried for 15 years to delay the Iranian nuclear program in all sorts of covert ways,” he said.

In July, an explosion tore through Natanz, reportedly causing extensive damage to a hall containing uranium enrichment centrifuges. The attack was linked by many observers at the time to Israel’s campaign to delay the Iranian nuclear program.

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