NYT: Attacked Iranian Site Was On Israeli Hit List

In this June 6, 2018 frame grab from Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran. (IRIB via AP)

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The Iranian nuclear site targeted in a quadcopter drone attack on Wednesday was on an Israeli list of recommended targets presented to the Trump administration in 2020, The New York Times reported.

Iranian sources told the Times that the attack was foiled before any damage or casualties were incurred thanks to strict security measures the Islamic Republic has adopted in the wake of previous attacks, all attributed to Israel.

However, some Israeli media reports on Wednesday said that the attack did cause damage but no details were provided. According to a Jerusalem Post report, there are strong indications that the attack caused major damage but the information could not be independently confirmed.

The facility, which belongs to Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization in Karaj, northwest of Tehran, is one of Iran’s manufacturing sites that produce centrifuges for Iran’s two nuclear facilities, Natanz and Fordow. The plant is currently manufacturing centrifuges to replace those damaged at Natanz and is also producing more advanced centrifuges that are capable of quicker uranium enrichment.

In the wake of the attack, Iran passed a new law on Wednesday requiring all civilian drones to be registered and licensed.

Other targets on Israel’s list were the Natanz nuclear site, which was attacked in April 2021, and nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakkrizadeh, who was assassinated in November 2020. Both attacks were attributed to Israel.

The report also noted similarities between Wednesday’s attack and the attack on a Hezbollah site in Beirut in August 2019 which targeted a precision-guided missile manufacturing plant. Both attacks were carried out by miniature armed quadcopter drones launched locally. Hezbollah blamed Israel for the attack in Beirut.

The attack took place amid talks in Washington between IDF chief of staff Aviv Kochavi and senior Pentagon officials during which Kochavi has reiterated strong criticism of the US plan to rejoin the nuclear deal and said that Israel will continue to prepare for military strikes against  Iran.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)