by Miceál O’Hurley
TEHRAN & JERUSALEM – Sunday, 11 April 2021, Iran reported an ‘incident’ at their nuclear facility at Natanz near the Karkas mountains north of Isfahan. The underground facility is a focal point of Iran’s uranium enrichment activities.
In a statement from Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI), “The causes of the accident are under investigation and further information will be announced later. Fortunately, the incident did not cause any human injuries or leaks,” according to Behrouz Kamalvand, a spokesman for AEOI.
According to the Iranian telegram outlet of the Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), the ‘incident’ was later called a ‘terrorist action.’
Only hours after Iran reported the ‘incident’, Israeli Army Chief, Aviv Kochavi, stated,
“[Our] operations throughout the Middle East are not hidden from the eyes of the enemies. They are watching us, seeing the capabilities and carefully considering their steps.” Kochavi was speaking Sunday during an event honouring Israelis that have died in the service of the State.
Several Israeli media outlets quoted intelligence officials speaking on background that Israel’s national intelligence agency, Mossad, was responsible for the incident.
Israel has stood opposed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal which US President Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin. The 19th Joint Meeting of the Commission met only last week and adjourned for expert input to move the process forward.
There has been virtual silence from Washington, D.C., a long-time ally and supporter of Israel. It is yet to be seen if the Biden Administration might come into conflict should it emerge that Israel was in fact behind the ‘incident’ at Natanz. With Iran demanding that the Biden Administration lift sanctions and rejoin the JCPOA prior to their return to compliance from the deal the Trump Administration unilaterally left, despite the IAEA confirming Iranian compliance, this ‘incident’ could further complicate matters and derail attempts to use diplomacy to return all parties to compliance with the JCPOA.
This is a developing Story.