Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) has announced that the cause of Thursday’s incident in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility has been determined but due to “security considerations” no information will be made public for the time being.
A part of the Natanz nuclear facility above the ground sustained what seems to have been an explosion and fire in the early morning hours of June 2 and Iranian authorities have not anything about the nature of the incident. However, information shared and reports published since then point to a possible act of sabotage.
The New York Times reported June two that according to a Middle Eastern intelligence source an “explosive device” was placed in one of the building in the vast complex in Natanz, in Isfahan province.
SNSC spokesman Kayvan Khosravi announced Friday, June 3 that “Technical and security investigations have been conducted and the cause of this incident in the nuclear facility…has been exactly pinpointed, but because of some security considerations the cause and the manner in which it took place will be announced at the appropriate time”.
Foreign experts say that judging from photos published by Iran and satellite images it appears the explosion took place in a building where new uranium enrichment centrifuges were being readied for operations.
A few hours before the news of the Natanz incident broke out on Thursday morning, a previously unknown group called “Homeland Panthers” claimed responsibility for the incident in an email sent to foreign-based Iranian journalists.
Natanz’s “accident” occured less than a week after the sighting of a dazzling light, and what looked like an explosion in eastern Tehran at an area occupied by other military and missile research centers.
Citing officials, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) news agency attributed the blast to an explosion at a natural gas storage, insisting that it occurred at a non-residential area, and left no casualties.
These incidents happen ten years after a cyberattack by the Stuxnet virus on the Natanz facility. It is believed U.S. and Israeli intelligence services devised the disruptive computer virus and unleashed it against Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges.