The Natanz nuclear facilities, which are the most famous Iranian media facilities, have returned to the fore again due to a major fire that destroyed one of the huge halls to assemble and control modern centrifuges. Although Iranian officials acknowledged the seriousness of the accident, they were cautious about revealing the details of the accident and who was behind it.
The centrifuges that were damaged in the accident are classified as the ninth generation of centrifuges, and have the capacity to enrich uranium by more than 50% in speed over the first generations. Thus, it gave Iran the possibility to increase the speed of uranium enrichment by a rate that would enable it to reach its position before the nuclear agreement within a few weeks.
According to some specialized experts, this incident has reduced Iran's ability to accelerate uranium enrichment for up to about 3 months at least.
The importance of the Natanz
facilities The "Martyr Ahmadi Roshan" facilities known as the Natanz nuclear facilities gained their reputation after members of the opposition Mujahedin Creation Organization provided the Americans, Israelis and Europeans, in the 1990s, with information about the existence of a secret uranium enrichment site in the Natanz region in the Isfahan province, where they did not Iran officially discloses it to the Atomic Energy Organization, which sparked the international controversy over the Iranian nuclear program, which has not ended to this day, and Washington used this information to impose international sanctions on Iran.
The enemies of Iran tried to stop the work of these facilities, which had been built a protected by the towering mountains of Zagras from the west, south and north and mountains of sand hidden from the east in various ways, and the European troika (Britain, France and Germany) demanded, in its negotiations with Iran in 2003, to stop the work of these facilities Fully.
Because of the threats that faced these installations, Iran moved the underground structures to a depth of 40 meters, protected by an armed concrete roof estimated at about 9 meters and an arsenal of gravel mountains and sand over it to prevent targeting them from enemies.
Closure of facilities with red wax
After the agreement of Iran with the European troika at the end of 2004, Iran completely closed these facilities with red wax under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but European countries (under pressure from the United States) disclaim implementation of their pledges to Iran that led to the red wax being broken by Former President Mohammad Khatami and the Secretary General of the National Security Council at the time Hassan Rouhani (who signed the agreement with European countries) and brought them back to work again.
Khatami made this move about two months before the end of his second presidency, in order not to give the privilege of breaking the red wax to the president who succeeds him, who was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad spent an unlimited budget for the nuclear program and its development, uranium was enriched by up to 20%, and Iran was able to obtain technology to manufacture centrifuge types from new generations and manufacture them internally.
Not the first attack. The
nuclear facilities of Natanz were subjected to two attacks. The first was by planting a virus in the centrifuges of these facilities, known as the "Stuxnet" virus. It had secured Iran, and was used in the manufacture of these centrifuge speed regulators to plant the virus.
The attack disrupted centrifuges at Natanz, but facility technicians managed to replace German parts with homemade parts. Iranian finger pointing at the time was indicating the involvement of Israel and the United States in this attack.
The second attack was last July 2, 2020. Although the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Herhroz Kamalundi played down the significance of the attack that Natanz faced, and he initially considered it a minor fire that broke out in one of the buildings and was controlled, the next day he made A spokesman for the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, Kiwan Khosravi, made a statement in which he indicated that the Natanz incident was not a transient accident, but rather an attack, without specifying its type for security considerations, according to his statement.
The Natanz incident was preceded by a week of fire at a military facility in the "Khujir" area near the "Parchin" facilities east of the city of Tehran.
It is noteworthy that the Parchin military facilities were the subject of major differences between Iran and the "5 + 1" countries due to the insistence of the International Atomic Energy Organization to enter these facilities, and to investigate whether they contain any nuclear activities, and the Iranian side refused to inspect, because they are military facilities to manufacture missiles, There is no requirement for Iran to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect military installations.
After Khusrawi's remarks, Kamalundi stated that these facilities faced great damage, and pointed out that there was an attack in these facilities.
Speculation about the nature of the accident
, Israeli journalist Edi Cohen, who is close to the Israeli security services, had mentioned that Israeli F-16 aircraft attacked Natanz nuclear facilities and refueled in one of the Gulf Arab states, in an indirect reference to Saudi Arabia.
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida had published that Israeli F-35 aircraft had attacked the Parchin installations without the need to refuel, and that the attack on the Natanz installations was an electronic attack. The New York Times also reported that the bombing at Natanz resulted from the planting of an explosive device at the facility.
The conclusions and analyzes were followed by the various media institutions, in one way or another, but as of the time of writing this report, none of these analyzes has been confirmed or denied.
Observers and eyewitnesses, and
since my wife's village is behind the mountains surrounding the Natanz nuclear facilities and by chance we had some administrative work in the town of Natanz, we went on Thursday (the morning of the accident) to the city of Natanz before the news of the accident spread, and on the way I heard about the accident, and I asked all of On my way, I met him about what he had seen before and after the accident, everyone assured without exception that they had not seen any approaching aircraft or a missile landing in the facility.
According to what was confirmed to me by some military experts, the fire that devoured a very large hall with an area of several thousand square meters requires bombing with large bombs or missiles with an explosive capacity of more than 500 kilograms of high explosive explosives.
And since these installations are not entirely connected to the Internet, so they can be attacked electronically, the only analysis is that there is a kind of influence or defect inside the facilities, somewhere that could lead to such explosion or fire only.
Of course, this hall was intended for the assembly and control of modern centrifuges before they were installed, and these devices contain flammable materials, and can be targeted with sabotage if anyone intends to do so.
It should be noted that some media announced false information that this place is intended for the manufacture of centrifuges of the new generation, while they are manufactured elsewhere, and are only assembled and tuned in this facility.
Iranian statements point the finger of accusation at Israel, but this does not mean that other countries are not involved in the incident.
Nor can the possibility of the United States' involvement in the incident be dismissed, as it is conducting ongoing hostilities and incitement against Iran, such as the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
Since this incident coincided with threats by Brian Hook, who is in charge of the Iranian file at the US State Department, to take military action against Iran, many doubts are directed toward the United States as well.
On the other hand, if the work is through a spy and agent, it is likely to be linked to the PMOI, which is currently supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where some analysts in Iran believe that such a process could be a response from Saudi Arabia to the Houthi attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities .
Perhaps the Israeli journalist Eddy Cohen's reference in his tweet, that refueling Israeli aircraft in a Gulf Arab country, is an indication of security cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in this field.