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Incident At Iran Nuclear Site Discussed In Parliament Commission Meeting

Radio Farda July 07, 2020

Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission spokesman Abolfazl Amouei says his committee held a meeting Tuesday evening to investigate the recent "accident" at the uranium enrichment facility in the city of Natanz.

The meeting was attended by top officials, including the Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi, his deputies, senior members of the Army Air Defense Command, and high-ranking officers of the police force.

Based on the briefings at the session, Abolfaz Amouei disclosed, "significant conclusions" were reached.

Speaking to the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), Amouei briefly said, "The authorities delivered a report on their responsibilities related to the case, explaining the security aspects of the Natanz incident, and responded to questions raised by the members of the commission."

Officials in the Islamic Republic have so far referred to a fire that broke out on July 2 at the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz as an "accident" and first tried to play down the significance of damages.

Nevertheless, aerial images from the scene, which is said to be "Iran's centrifuge hub" show that much of the building was destroyed.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) later said the blast occurred at the workshop for a new generation of centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear site.

Still, without elaboration, Amouei told ISNA, "significant results concerning the Natanz incident were achieved, and further investigation into various aspects of the explosion at the nuclear facility is underwaay. He also promised that "after a thorough and technical investigation, the results will be made public through the relevant agencies."

Earlier, the Islamic Republic's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) had announced that the cause of the accident had been determined, but it would not immediately be revealed for "security considerations."

Nonetheless, some Iranian media outlets close to the SNSC have described the fire and explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility as an "deliberate attack."

Since senior officials of the Army Air Defense Command and law enforcement forces were present at Tuesday meeting in parliament, it is highly probable that planted bombs, or an airstrike caused the devastating fire and explosion at the Islamic Republic's centrifuge center.

The New York Times reporting has emphasized the possibility of a bomb and according to a source, Israel was involved.

Earlier, Channel 13 of Israeli television quoted experts as saying that the blast delays Iran's plans to boost uranium enrichment for two months, as the laboratory that developed high-speed centrifuges was demolished in the blast.

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, later admitted that "the incident may slow down the development and production of advanced centrifuges in the medium term."

Source: iran-nuclear-site-discussed-in-parliament- commission-meeting/30712935.html

Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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