Iran on Monday accused Israel of sabotaging its Natanz subway nuclear facility with an attack that damaged centrifuges used at the site to enrich uranium. Tehran warned it would retaliate.
The comments by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh were the first official accusation against Israel over Sunday’s incident, which left the entire Natanz complex without electricity.
Israel has not directly claimed responsibility for the attack. However, suspicions immediately turned in its direction, as Israeli media unanimously reported that a devastating cyber attack orchestrated by the country had caused the power outage.
If Israel is responsible, the event will exacerbate tensions between the two countries, already mired in an indirect conflict across the Middle East. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met on Sunday with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, has vowed to do everything in his power to stop a new Iran nuclear deal with international powers.
There were still few details about what happened at the nuclear complex on Sunday morning. The event was initially described as a blackout caused by the power grid serving its above-ground workshops and uranium enrichment facilities underground.
The response to Natanz is to retaliate against Israel, Khatibzadeh said. Israel will receive its response in its own way, he added, without going into details.
Khatibzadeh acknowledged that the IR-1 centrifuges, the first generation of Iranian uranium enrichment machinery, had been damaged in the attack, although he did not elaborate. State television has not yet shown images from Natanz.