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Classified Israeli operation led to explosion at Iran’s Natanz facility: Reports

Moscow: The accident at Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant was caused by a large explosion that was the result of a classified Israeli operation, The New York Times reports, saying it could take months to undo the damage.

On Sunday morning, Iran reported that the Natanz facility had suffered an accident involving its electricity distribution network. The Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEO) chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, described the accident as “nuclear terrorism.”

Israel’s Kan channel reported citing intelligence sources on Sunday that the Natanz facility was subjected to a cyberattack involving Israel’s foreign intelligence service Mossad.

A US official confirmed to The New York Times on Sunday that there was “an Israeli role” in the power outage at Natanz.

Intelligence officials told the newspaper that the damage at Natanz was caused by an explosion that destroyed the plant’s internal power system which supplies uranium enrichment centrifuges.

According to the officials, the explosion was the result of a classified Israeli operation. It could take at least nine months to eliminate the damage done by the blast, The New York Times said.

On Saturday, Iran announced that it was beginning the use of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges at the Natanz facility.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, signed between Tehran and major global powers in 2015, Iran is allowed to enrich uranium only using first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz. Last year Iran started adding more advanced centrifuges that can enrich much faster than the IR-1.

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