Israel’s alleged attack on the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz hit an electrical substation about 150 feet underground, severely damaging not only the power distribution system but also a power cable that led to the centrifuges.
An Iranian official said that such an attack would have taken years of planning, adding that “the design of the enemy was very beautiful.”
The Jerusalem Post has learned that “the attack took out both the primary and backup electrical systems.” With the power suddenly cut, there was no orderly and careful shutdown of the centrifuges leading to a cascade failure with spectacular results. The Iranians are admitting that thousands of centrifuges were destroyed.
The Iranians are saying it was an inside job.
Ali Rabiei, the spokesperson for the Iranian government, stated on Tuesday that the attack was “not an external attack” and that a “traitor” has been identified, adding that “the necessary measures are being taken.”
An informed official in the Iranian Intelligence Ministry told the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency on Monday that the identity of the disruption’s cause had been found and that “necessary measures are being taken to arrest the main cause of the disruption in the electricity system of the Natanz complex.”
Experts familiar with Mossad and the way it operates are worried about the leaks coming from the government on details of the operation.
A number of former Israeli security officials expressed concern at the leaks being shared about the attack, with former Mossad chief Danny Yatom warning, in an interview with Army Radio on Monday, that it could impact Israel’s operational capability. “If indeed this thing is the result of an operation involving Israel, this leak is very serious,” said Yatom. “It is detrimental to the Israeli interest and the fight against Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. There are actions that must remain in the dark.”
“Once Israeli officials are quoted, it forces the Iranians to take revenge,” warned Yatom. “If the Iranians start investigating with the publication hovering over their heads that the people behind the attack are the Israelis or the Americans, they will leave no stone unturned. This has an impact on our operational capability.”
Israeli media — many of whom are tight with Mossad leadership — originally reported that it was a cyberattack that had caused the damage. That would have been consistent with Mossad’s operational procedures — misdirection and denial. They may have been trying to protect their assets in Iran, giving them a chance to escape.
But almost immediately, there were leaks from the government about an explosive device doing the damage. That’s highly unusual for a Mossad operation and it’s no wonder they’re worried.
What will Iran do in response?
An analysis published in the Iranian Kayhan newspaper, which is tied to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, called for the government to withdraw from the talks on the nuclear deal in Vienna and to punish Israel as a “decisive and deterrent response to the enemy’s sinister plan.”
Israel would hardly be “punished” if Iran pulled out of talks to revive the nuclear deal. It’s exactly what Israel wants. Removing sanctions from Tehran would unleash a wave of terror and violence across the Middle East that would threaten Israel.
This, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not allow.