The blast at the Natanz nuclear site in Iran was caused by a remote-controlled explosive device which was detonated at about 4 a.m. on Sunday morning, The New York Times reported on Monday, citing two anonymous intelligence officials.
The bomb, which had been placed near the main electric line, destroyed the main electrical system as well as the backup system.
Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told Iran’s state TV on Monday that the blast destroyed an electrical station that was situated 40 to 50 meters underground and that the explosives were embedded into a heavy table at the site.
About 1,000 workers were at the site when the explosion occurred. They were evacuated from the scene due to the fear of additional bombs but no other explosives were discovered.
Natanz has been completely closed down and the damage is expected to set back Iran’s nuclear program by months. “All the signs indicate that this was the worst attack that Iran’s nuclear program has ever suffered,” Israel’s Channel 13 News stated.
In the wake of the damage, Iran may shift its focus to expanding its centrifuge operation at its Fordo plant, which currently houses only 1,000 centrifuges versus Natanz’s almost 6,000 centrifuges.
The report added that Israeli officials warn that Iran will perpetuate a retaliatory strike against Israel. The strike, which won’t necessarily occur immediately, could occur in various forms, including an attack on Israeli ships, a cyberattack on Israeli infrastructure, missile attacks from Yemen or Syria, or drone attacks on Israeli targets.
“[The attack at Natanz] signifies that the showdown between Israel and Iran has spiraled to a higher level,” Channel 13 stated.
“Iran’s response will be taking revenge on the Zionist regime in due time and place,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry. “What happened at Natanz was nuclear terrorism on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s soil. Iran reserves the right for response under Article 51 of the UN Charter.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)