in

Iran reports 2nd mysterious “incident” near a nuclear facility (www.cbsnews.com)

Tehran, Iran — An “incident” damaged an under-construction building Thursday near Iran‘s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, though it did not affect its centrifuge operations or cause any release of radiation, a spokesman said. The affected building, described as an “industrial shed,” was above ground and not part of the enrichment facility itself, said Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Kamalvandi as saying there was “no need for concern” over the incident.

“There are physical and financial damages and we are investigating to assess,” Kamalvandi later told Iranian state television. “Furthermore, there has been no interruption in the work of the enrichment site. Thank God, the site is continuing its work as before.”

However, there was no previously announced construction work at Natanz, a uranium enrichment center some 155 miles south of the capital, Tehran. Natanz includes underground facilities buried under some 25 feet of concrete, which offers protection from airstrikes. The incident also appeared serious enough for both Kamalvandi and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi to rush to Natanz.

IRAN-NUCLEAR-ENRICHMENT-SUSPEND
IAEA inspectors (2nd-3rd L) and Iranian technicians disconnect the connections between twin cascades for 20% uranium production at the Natanz nuclear power plant in a January 20, 2014 file photo, as Iran halted production of 20 percent enriched uranium under a deal with world powers.

Getty


Ramazanali Ferdowsi, the governor of the town of Natanz, later described the incident as a “fire.” Ferdowsi said both firefighters and rescue teams deployed to the site to handle the incident. He offered no cause for the blaze in his remarks reported by the semiofficial Tasnim news agency.

Natanz, also known as the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, is among the sites now monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency after Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The IAEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment over the incident.

Located in Iran’s central Isfahan province, Natanz hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. There, centrifuges rapidly spin uranium hexafluoride gas to enrich uranium. Currently, the IAEA says Iran enriches uranium to about 4.5% purity, above the terms of the nuclear deal, but far below weapons-grade levels of 90%. It also has conducted tests on advanced centrifuges, according to the IAEA.

The U.S. under President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018, setting up months of tensions between Tehran and Washington. Iran now is breaking all the production limits set by the deal, but still allows IAEA inspectors and cameras to watch its nuclear sites.

Iran’s hardliners win all parliament seats in Tehran

However, Natanz did become a point of controversy last year as Iranian officials refused to allow an IAEA inspector into the facility in October after tests allegedly showed suspected traces of explosive nitrates.  Nitrates are a common fertilizer. However, when mixed with proper amounts of fuel, the material can become an explosive as powerful as TNT. Swab tests, common at airports and other secure facilities, can detect its presence on the skin or objects.

Natanz also remains of particular concern to Tehran as it has been targeted for sabotage before. The Stuxnet computer virus, widely believed to be an American and Israeli creation, disrupted and destroyed centrifuges at Natanz amid the height of Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.

iran-khojar-explosion.jpg
A photo taken by Maxar’s WorldView-1 satellite on June 28, 2020, shows the aftermath of an explosion that occurred two days earlier in a mountainous area east of Tehran, Iran, believed to house a tunnel system and missile production site. The image shows the explosion appears to have been contained largely to one building that was destroyed by the blast.

Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies


Satellite photos show an explosion last Friday that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites.  

Iran has blamed the blast on a gas leak in what it describes a “public area.”

Firefighters inspect the site of an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the Iranian capital Tehran
Firefighters inspect the site of an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the Iranian capital Tehran, Iran, June 30, 2020.

TASNIM NEWS AGENCY


Last Tuesday Iranian officials said another explosion, this one at at medical clinic in northern Tehran, left 19 people dead. That blast was also blamed on a gas leak.

This post was created with our nice and easy submission form. Create your post!

Report

What do you think?

1573 points
Upvote Downvote
Legend

Posted by NewsRoom

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading…

0
Saturday is crucial for Anthony Albanese but July 23 is more important for Scott Morrison 32 |

Saturday is crucial for Anthony Albanese but July 23 is more important for Scott Morrison (theconversation.com)

China-Australia Spat: Australia To Invest $270B In Defense Capabilities As Tensions Soar With China - EurAsian Times 33 |

China-Australia Spat: Australia To Invest $270B In Defense Capabilities As Tensions Soar With China – EurAsian Times (eurasiantimes.com)