London Defender

The Daily Mirror of the Great Britain

‘Huge explosion’ rocks Iran’s nuclear facility as regime ‘tests air defences’

A bright light could be seen in the sky near the Natanz facility in the country’s Badroud region. State TV said air defence units fired the missile to test a rapid reaction force over Natanz.  Army spokesperson Shahin Taqikhani said: “Such exercises are carried out in a completely secure environment … and there is no cause for concern.”

“No official source has yet confirmed or denied the report.”

According to Fars, the local governor of Badroud said: “No exact details are available about this.”

The Natanz facility has been the target of at least two attacks in the past two years, with Iranian officials blaming Israel for an explosion in April that caused extensive damage at the site.

The country vowed revenge for an attack that appeared to be the latest episode in a long-running covert war.

Israeli media outlets have also quoted unnamed intelligence sources as saying the country’s Mossad spy service carried out a successful sabotage operation at the underground Natanz complex, potentially setting back enrichment work by months.

However, Israel has not formally commented on the incident.

In total, there have been five explosions at the site in recent years, according to the former head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani.

This comes amid talks between world powers over a potential return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the United States warning on Saturday that it will not allow Iran to “slow walk” the negotiations.

The JPCOA, a deal between China, France, Germany, Russia, the US and the UK, placed limits on Iran’s nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Iran has increasingly breached the deal since Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed fresh sanctions on the country.

However, the Islamic Republic says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

Speaking about the negotiations, a senior US administration official said: “We can’t accept a situation in which Iran accelerates its nuclear programme and slow walks its nuclear diplomacy.”

They added that the US was not yet planning to walk away from the talks, currently taking place in Vienna, but it hoped Iran would return “with a serious attitude.”

Just this week, the UN’s Nuclear Watchdog reported that the country has started operating a cascade of advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its Fordo facility to enrich uranium up to 20 percent purity, in breach of the JCPOA.

Naftali Bennett, Israeli Prime Minister, accused Iran of “nuclear blackmail” and called for an “immediate cessation” of the talks.

Israel opposed the original 2015 Iran nuclear accord with world powers, arguing that it was too limited in scope and duration.

Israeli leaders have long threatened military action against Iran if they continue to improve their nuclear capabilities.

Speaking to the BBC previously, an Israeli security official said: “Israel has no interest in a war with Iran, but we will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

“In light of Iranian progress of their nuclear programme, we are preparing for all options and scenarios, including military capabilities.”