Tehran on Thursday reported an “accident” at the Natanz nuclear complex in central Iran, saying there were no casualties or radioactive pollution, and warned enemies – especially Israel – against the hostile actions.
There was “no nuclear material (in the damaged warehouse) and no risk of pollution,” spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalvandi said on state television.
Kamalvandi said that no radioactive material or personnel were present in the warehouse at the Natanz site in central Iran, one of the country’s main uranium enrichment plants.
He noted that the cause was under investigation and stated that it had caused “structural damage” without specifying the nature of the accident.
There has been “no disruption to the enrichment site itself,” which “is operating at the rate it used to,” said Kamalvandi.
Hours after the announcement, the Iranian news agency IRNA published an editorial warning that “if there are signs of hostile countries crossing Iran’s red lines in any way, especially the regime Zionist (Israel) and the United States, Iran’s strategy for dealing with the new situation must be fundamentally reconsidered. “
The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization has published a photo allegedly of the site, showing a one-story building with a damaged roof, walls apparently blackened by fire and doors hanging from their hinges as if they were blown from the inside.
State television later showed a different angle to the building with minor damage to its walls and some of its fans still operating.
According to a press release issued by the nuclear body, the warehouse was under construction and no one was injured in the accident.
Natanz governor Ramezan-Ali Ferdowsi told the Tasnim news agency that a fire had broken out in the warehouse.
– Unknown cause –
IRNA reported that anonymous Israeli social media reports claimed that the Jewish state was responsible for the “sabotage attempts”.
He stressed that Iran had tried “to prevent escalations and unpredictable situations while defending its position and national interests”.
The BBC’s Persian service, which the Iranian authorities consider hostile, said it had received a statement “a few hours before” the accident of a group called “Homeland Cheetahs” who claimed responsibility for the accident.
They claimed to be “dissidents in Iranian security apparatuses” and said that the location was targeted because it was not “underground” and therefore the alleged attack could not be denied.
The Iranian nuclear agency has yet to provide an explanation for the cause of the accident.
Tehran analyst Mohammad Marandi ridiculed the accident claims on Twitter.
“If there is a fire somewhere, the enemies of Iran are demanding a military strike,” said Marandi, who heads the department of American studies at the University of Tehran.
“The BBC Persian claims sabotage of a secret organization, while their Israeli propaganda brothers demand a drone strike! Poor coordination.”
The accident comes six days after an explosion near a military complex shook the Iranian capital.
The explosion in the Parchin region southeast of Tehran is due to “gas tank leaks,” the Iranian defense ministry said on Friday.
Parchin is suspected of having organized conventional explosion tests with nuclear applications, which the Islamic Republic denies.
Tehran announced last May that it would gradually suspend certain commitments as part of a 2015 nuclear deal with the major powers, which was unilaterally abandoned by the United States in 2018.
Iran resumed enriching uranium at Natanz last September after agreeing to suspend the activities under the agreement.
The UN nuclear watchdog said last month that Tehran continues to produce enriched uranium at Natanz using “no more than 5,060 (first generation) centrifuges installed in 30 waterfalls”.
Tehran has always denied that its nuclear program has a military dimension.
The 2015 agreement promised Iran to ease sanctions in exchange for limiting its atomic activities.
US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal was followed by Washington reimposing harsh unilateral sanctions.
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)