‘Suspicious’ blackout strikes Iran’s Natanz nuclear site

‘Suspicious’ blackout strikes Iran’s Natanz nuclear site
This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: On Sunday, Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear facility lost power, just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster. The latest incident to strike the nuclear site amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers.

Iranian officials investigated the power cut in the facility, but many Israeli media outlets offered the same assessment that a cyberattack darkened Natanz and damaged a facility that is home to sensitive centrifuges.

While the Israeli media reports offered no sourcing for the evaluation, the media maintains a close relationship with the country’s intelligence and military agencies.

If Israel caused the blackout, it further heightens tensions between Tel Aviv and Tehran, already engaged in a shadow conflict across the wider Middle East.

It also complicates efforts by the United States, Israel’s main security partner, to re-enter the atomic accord aimed at limiting Iran’s program so it could not pursue a nuclear weapon if it chose.

As news of the blackout emerged, Lloyd Austin, the U.S. Defense Secretary, landed in Israel on Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Power at Natanz had been cut across the facility, comprised of underground enrichment halls and above-ground workshops, civilian nuclear program spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told Iranian state television.

Kamalvandi said: “We still do not know the reason for this electricity outage and have to look into it further. Fortunately, there was no casualty or damage and there is no particular contamination or problem.”

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