Report: Iran identifies culprit behind Natanz sabotage act; says he fled country before attack
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 17 April 2021 3:12 PM
Iran's Intelligence Ministry has identified the culprit behind the recent act of sabotage at its Natanz nuclear facility, who had fled the country before the attack.
The Natanz nuclear site was hit by an attack on Sunday which Iran called "nuclear terrorism" and a "war crime". The attack, which Iran blamed on Israel, targeted the electricity distribution network of the Natanz enrichment facility and caused a blackout.
On Saturday, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting said the Intelligence Ministry had identified the man behind the act of sabotage, adding that the suspect was identified by the ministry's forces as Reza Karimi.
"The perpetrator of the sabotage act at the Natanz nuclear facility, whose picture has been published for the first time, is Reza Karimi, who fled abroad before the incident," the IRIB reported.
According to the report, Tehran is taking legal actions at the international level to have him arrested and returned to Iran.
The picture was released days after a security source said the key individual responsible for the incident has been identified.
"Necessary measures are being taken to arrest the main element behind the disruption in the power system of Natanz complex," Nour News on Monday quoted the source as saying.
Following the Natanz attack, Iran notified the International Atomic Energy Agency of a plan to start 60-percent uranium enrichment, which has different applications, one of which is for the production of radiopharmaceuticals.
On Friday, Tehran announced that its first batch of 60-percent enriched uranium was ready at the Natanz nuclear facility.
The developments coincide with high-profile talks in Austria's capital, Vienna, to restore the Iran nuclear deal of 2015, which was savagely attacked by former US President Donald Trump, who withdrew from the pact in 2018.
The United States has rejected any involvement in the Natanz incident, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying "We have nothing to add on speculation about the causes or the impacts."
But observers believe Israel, through the act of sabotage, intended to kill the prospects of a revival of the nuclear deal, which would include the lifting of the United States' illegal sanctions on Iran. Iranian officials agree with the analysis.
US warns Israel to stop chatter on Natanz attack
The Israeli regime's Channel 12 reported on Friday the US has conveyed to Israel in no uncertain terms that Tel Aviv's "chatter" over its involvement in the Natanz attack must stop as it was "dangerous and detrimental" to the Joe Biden administration that is attempting to negotiate a return to the Iran nuclear deal.
The message, according to the report, was conveyed to Tel Aviv through several channels in recent days.
Israel, as a matter of policy, neither confirms nor denies such acts. But this time, there has been plenty of anonymous confirmation in the media by unnamed intelligence and Western officials. Also, senior Israeli officials, including the regime's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have publicly hinted at Israeli role in the attack.
Top Iranian generals have repeatedly warned Iran's enemies â€“ Israel in particular â€“ that the country's Armed Forces are ready to respond firmly to any threat or malicious act.
"We are ready to respond decisively to any kind of threat and evil action of the enemies," Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said in a message on Friday.
Baqeri added that the Iranian Armed Forces have undermined the Israeli regime's strategy of using threats against the Islamic Republic.
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