Iran is stewing over the potential loss of its most advanced centrifuge production plant after some kind of explosion and fire severely damaged it.
Naturally, the Iranians are being pretty closemouthed about the incident. They haven’t said much about the fire and explosion at what was suspected to be a nuclear research facility in the mountains outside of Tehran, either.
But it’s hard to hide what happened at Natanz — the nuclear facility with the highest-profile in the country. And Iran is hinting that the destruction of its advanced centrifuge plant might have been caused by some kind of variation of the Stuxnet cyber virus.
Iran is claiming a fire and possible explosion at its Natanz nuclear plant on July 2 could have been caused by a cyberattack, and is threatening retaliation in response.
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization has confirmed an incident had taken place at the nuclear site where in 2010, a highly-sophisticated nation state cyberattack was orchestrated by the U.S. and Israel, now known as Stuxnet.
Iranian officials believe they know the cause.
At first, the agency didn’t provide information about how the new incident had happened—or reveal how much damage was done underground where most assembly work on the nuclear centrifuges takes place—but it shared a picture of the burnt-out building.
Now, Iran says it is aware of the cause of the incident but will not reveal this information due to “security considerations,” according to a Reuters report.
Israel is having a great time — not confirming or denying any sabotage. But the way Israeli officials are couching their denials shows that someone in Mossad has a sense of humor.
Asked whether Israel had anything to do with “mysterious explosions” at Iranian nuclear sites, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said: “Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us.”
“All those systems are complex, they have very high safety constraints and I’m not sure they always know how to maintain them,” Gantz told Israel Radio.
In other words, the Iranians are so stupid and inept that they might not know how to keep their systems from blowing up. And “not every” incident is Israeli sabotage. Guess which ones are, dummies.
Meanwhile, satellite imagery shows that whatever or whoever was responsible for the blast, the damage is far more extensive than Iranian authorities have let on.
Newly published satellite imagery shows that an incident at one of Iran’s main nuclear sites this week caused far more extensive damage than was disclosed by authorities, intensifying suspicions that there may have been an attack on the facility.
A satellite picture published by the London-based Iranian news outlet Iran International shows most of the building where Thursday morning’s incident occurred blown away and blackened by scorch marks, and debris scattered around the perimeter, indicating a large explosion.
A pity, that. All those ultra-modern centrifuges up in smoke. Looks like Iran is going to have to delay its plans to launch a nuclear weapon into Israel.
Iran has other, older centrifuge machines housed in other facilities. But getting them started up again will take time. And with the old machines, it would take far longer to process enough highly-enriched uranium to construct a weapon.
Israel (no doubt with the blessing of the U.S.) has bought itself some time. What Israel does with it is anyone’s guess.