Ayatollah Khomeini, Benny Gantz, bomb, CAATSA, computer security and law enforcement technology company, Cyberattack, explosion, Fifth Dimension, fire, Fire At Natanz Nuclear Facility, Iran, Israel, Israeli Defense Minister, Likud, Likud Iran ties, Likud slush fund, Natanz, Natanz Nuclear Facility, Netanyahu, Russia, smartphone spyware, Special Counsel, uranium enrichment, Vekselberg
“Iran Says Fire At Natanz Nuclear Facility Caused Significant Damage
July 05, 2020 19:59 GMT
A fire last week at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran caused significant damage, an Iranian nuclear official said on July 5 in a new assessment of the incident, adding that it could slow down the development and production of advanced centrifuges in the medium term.
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behruz Kamalvandi was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying various devices had been damaged or completely destroyed in the July 3 fire.
Kamalvandi added that Iran will replace the building damaged in the fire with a bigger one “that has more advanced equipment.”
Kamalvandi initially said the fire at the Natanz facility in central Iran caused no damage to “current activities of this complex.” He said it affected an above-ground building described as an industrial shed.
Natanz is the Islamic republic’s main uranium-enrichment center located some 250 kilometers south of Tehran and includes facilities built under some 7.6 meters of concrete to offer protection from air strikes.
The site is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.
Iran’s top security body said on July 3 the cause of the incident had been determined, but it declined to release details, citing security reasons.
There has been speculation of a possible act of sabotage as Iranian officials struggled to explain what happened.
Iranian officials have not cited a specific country in connection with the incident, but two official notes published in IRNA and other Iranian media warned that any signs of crossing a red line by the United States and Israel must be considered in the “strategy for dealing with the new situation.”
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was asked on July 5 whether Israel played any role in the Natanz fire.
“Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us,” Gantz said on Army Radio on July 5. He said Israel’s long-standing policy is not to allow Iran access to its nuclear capabilities. “That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there.”
Israel has said for years that it is “confident” that Iran’s nuclear program is being pursued militarily with the goal of acquiring an atomic bomb. Iran has consistently denied the allegation.
The fire at the Natanz site comes amid other fires and accidents at its petrochemical complexes, regional power plants, and infrastructure.
Two fresh incidents occurred on July 4 — one at an Iranian power station in the southwestern city of Ahvaz and the other at a petrochemical plant near the port of Bandar Imam Khomeini.
The incidents occurred less than a week after 19 people were killed in an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the capital, Tehran, which an official said was caused by a gas leak.
It also follows an explosion on June 25 at a gas-storage facility near the Parchin military base east of Tehran.
With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and Radio Farda. Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-now-says-fire-at-natanz-nuclear-facility-caused-significant-damage/30708378.html
“Iran Admits Serious Damage to Natanz Nuclear Site, Setting Back Program: A Middle Eastern intelligence official said Israel planted a bomb in a building where advanced centrifuges were being developed.”By Farnaz Fassihi, Richard Pérez-Peña and Ronen Bergman July 5, 2020 Updated 7:39 p.m. ET, NYT http://archive.vn/GrsrA
“Revealed: How a secret Dutch mole aided the U.S.-Israeli Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran Kim Zetter and Huib Modderkolk Contributors Yahoo News September 2, 2019 https://news.yahoo.com/revealed-how-a-secret-dutch-mole-aided-the-us-israeli-stuxnet-cyber-attack-on-iran-160026018.html
Most of this 2007-10 cyberattack period, the PM was PM Olmert of Kadima and not Likud: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prime_ministers_of_Israel
Benny Gantz became Israeli Minister of Defence on May 17, 2020. He isn’t Likud: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Gantz
However, “Gantz was the chairman of the Fifth Dimension, a computer security and law enforcement technology company, which specialized in tracking via smartphone spyware. The company closed due to financial reasons, after its Russian investor Viktor Vekselberg was sanctioned under CAATSA by the United States during the Special Counsel investigation into Russian attempts to interfere with the US election, led by Robert Mueller.“. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Gantz
Likud has worked with Iran and made a profit and creative a slush-fund:
“Unable to get military equipment from the Carter administration, the Iranians reached out through back channels to the Israeli government and negotiated a preliminary covert arms deal between the two countries. In early 1980, the first military equipment sale by Israel to the Iranian government of Ayatollah Khomeini occurred…
The net profit from the sale gave rise to an extra-budgetary Likud party/intelligence community slush fund, which grew substantial over the next years.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%27s_role_in_the_Iran–Iraq_war
“Between 2007–2010 Natanz nuclear power plant was hit by a sophisticated cyber attack that was carried out by German, French, British, American, Dutch and Israeli intelligence organizations. The attack used a Stuxnet worm which hampered the operation of plant’s centrifuges and caused damage to them over time. The goal of the cyber attack was not to destroy the nuclear program of Iran completely but to stall it enough for sanctions and diplomacy to take effect. This was successful as a nuclear treaty with Iran was reached in July 2015.
On 2 July 2020, a fire and explosion hit around 2 a.m. local time a centrifuge production plant at a nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz. A group known as the “Cheetahs of the Homeland” claimed responsibility for the attack. Some Iranian officials mentioned that incident may have been caused by cyber sabotage.”
10. “Revealed: How a secret Dutch mole aided the U.S.-Israeli Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran”. Yahoo News. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
11. “Analysts: Fire at Iran nuclear site hit centrifuge facility”. Associated Press. 2 July 2020.
12. “Mysterious Explosion and Fire Damage Iranian Nuclear Enrichment Facility”. The New York Times. 2 July 2020.
13. “Report: Israeli cyberattack caused Iran nuclear site fire, F35s hit missile base”. The Times of Israel. 3 July 2020.
14. “Iran threatens retaliation after what it calls possible cyber attack on nuclear site”. Reuters. 3 July 2020.
Excerpts from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natanz
“The net profit from the sale gave rise to an extra-budgetary Likud party/intelligence community slush fund, which grew substantial over the next years“. Reference: Ben-Menashe, Ari (2015-10-01). “Groundwork (Chapter 4)”. Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.–Israeli Arms Network. Trine Day. p. 66. via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%27s_role_in_the_Iran–Iraq_war