In recent days, speculation abounds about what happened at the Natanz facility, a facility where the centrifuges used to enrich uranium are collected, among other things. Satellite images of the Natanz facility showed a 10-meter hole and destroyed roofing materials, according to the Institute of Science and International Security in Washington, DC. The explosion represented a setback for Iranian capabilities to manufacture centrifuges in large quantities in the coming years, according to the institute itself.
The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization confirmed that the level of destruction was "significant", and the Iranian National Security Council said that it knew "the main reason" for this incident on the morning of the second of July, but he did not mention it for "security reasons."
According to an article published in the Hamshahri daily, daily and semi-official newspaper, "the level of destruction enhances the possibility that what happened is sabotage." The sabotage was carried out by "attackers" who moved in the desert under cover of darkness in Natanz at two in the morning, because they were "perhaps not intending Causing human casualties, and no radioactive leaks, according to the newspaper.
"It appears that the explosion was an attack by the United States and Israel, or both, as a warning that we are very close to you," said an analyst close to the reformist circles in Iran. "The work was huge and caused great financial damage, which made Iran's tensions with the United States more complicated than previously." A group calling itself the "Panthers of the Nation" claimed responsibility for the accident. The group said in its statement, published on the Telegram website, that they were former Iranian intelligence and security men, and they wanted to topple the Iranian regime. The statement said they would carry out more similar attacks in Natanz soon.
"Natanz" has been targeted by cyber attacks in the past. It was hacked with an electronic virus in 2020, and it is believed that Israel and the United States were behind this piracy. But such attacks stopped after Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 and halted most of its uranium enrichment activities. But after US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the United States from the nuclear treaty two years ago and began imposing economic sanctions on Iran, Tehran resumed many elements of its nuclear program.
These included the assembly facility at Natanz, which since 2018 has had the capacity to manufacture 60 centrifuges simultaneously. Satellite imagery suggests that the facility's production was destroyed. And security officials in Israel say that if necessary, Iran can use the previous generation of centrifuges to continue enrichment, albeit at a slower rate.
The explosion occurred about a week after an explosion at the Parchin military site, which Tehran said was caused by a gas leak. During the past few days, there were fire and gas leaks in a medical clinic in the Iranian capital, a power generation facility in the city of Al-Ahwaz located in the southwest, in addition to a petrochemical industry center in the southern port of Mahshahr, and a small factory in southern Tehran.
And if it is confirmed that the explosion in "Natanz" was intended to sabotage, then doubts will be directed to Israel and the United States. Two years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that Israel had dominated the Iranian nuclear archive. "It is quite clear that the Israelis have the ability to carry out sabotage in Iran," said Emile Hokayim of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "If the Israelis were really responsible for the (Natanz) explosion, then the question now is, why?" The Iranian nuclear stockpile does not yet constitute any threat, and Iran's violations of the nuclear agreement are not significant. The reason could be that Israel wants to destroy Iran's nuclear program, while it has an ally in the White House and to keep Tehran unbalanced.
Hokayim noted that if the explosion was sabotage, it posed a difficult dilemma for Iran. "Iran still wants to avoid direct escalation with the United States, hoping to get rid of the Trump administration by the end of 2020. Accordingly, it reduces the severity of the incident," he said.
"Regardless of who did this, he implemented it in a way that does not lead to an escalation towards war, perhaps, by carrying out an air strike," said Sima, who heads the Mossad research and evaluation department, especially Sima Shine. The National Institute for Security Studies in Israel, “Both sides are trying to avoid a direct military confrontation. They also do everything away from the radar, in a way that does not lead to escalation. But what happened is considered a dramatic event, because there was an explosion. Other bombings in Iran may be different, but in Natanz it is clear that what happened was sabotage.
"If Israel was behind this attack, this shows a strategic change in the United States and Israel 's dealings with Iran by entering the prohibited sites in Iran and bypassing the red lines," said the news website "Noynews", which is close to the Supreme National Security Council in Iran. Leads to major changes in the area »according to the site.
- If Israel was behind this attack, then this shows a "strategic change" in the United States and Israel dealing with Iran by entering the prohibited sites in Iran, and bypassing the red lines, and this could lead to "fundamental changes" in the region.
Security officials in Israel say that if necessary, Iran can use the previous generation of centrifuges to continue enrichment, albeit at a slower rate.