Mysterious ‘accident’ reported at Iranian nuclear facility

A spokesperson said the plant’s electrical grid had suffered an “accident.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel news

Just one day after the Iranian government announced that it had inaugurated new uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz nuclear facility, a spokesperson said the plant’s electrical grid had suffered an “accident.”

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), announced the accident on Sunday morning to Iran’s government-controlled Press TV. Minimal details about the nature of the incident were shared, leaving many unanswered questions.

“Kamalvandi said fortunately the incident has not caused any human damage or contamination,” said a Press TV reporter. “The cause of the incident is under investigation.”

In a televised ceremony on Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani officially inaugurated new 164 IR-6 centrifuges for producing enriched uranium, alongside two test cascades.

Press TV aired interviews with plant engineers who confirmed they’d started the process of advanced uranium enrichment.

The move to inaugurate the new centrifuges came as the latest in Iran’s flagrant violations of the 2015 nuclear deal. A recent report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog group the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found that Iran was using advanced centrifuge technology that it was expressly forbidden to operate.

According to the terms of the nuclear deal, Iran is permitted to enrich using only first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at its underground Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) near the city of Natanz.

But in 2020, reports emerged that Iran had obtained new, advanced centrifuges and had capabilities to enrich much more quickly than if they had abided by the deal and used the IR-1.

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The Natanz nuclear facility is located some 200 kilometers south of the Islamic Republic’s capital, Tehran. In July 2020, an explosion — which Iranian officials later declared to be “sabotage” — destroyed the plant’s advanced centrifuges.

Since the explosion, the Iranian government has shifted critical aspects of its nuclear program to take place in underground facilities.

It’s unknown if Sunday’s “accident” was the result of sabotage.

Last week, on the heels of escalating covert clashes between Israel and Iran, an American government official revealed that Israel took responsibility for an attack on an Iranian ship in the Red Sea region.