Iran Nuclear Site 'sabotaged'; What About 2015 Accord?
Faizan Hashmi 2 months ago Wed 14th April 2021 | 01:00 AM
Tehran, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Apr, 2021 ) :Iran has accused its nemesis Israel of sabotaging a nuclear enrichment facility purportedly hit by an explosion a day after President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated advanced uranium centrifuges.
What do we know about what happened early on Sunday at Natanz, the nerve centre of Iran's atomic programme? And is dialogue scheduled to resume in Vienna aimed at salvaging the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers still viable? - What happened? - Ascertaining this is fraught with pitfalls, not least when Iranian authorities have at times offered contradictory narratives, having initially described Sunday's incident as an "accident".
The "sabotage occurred in a duct of power cables leading to the centrifuge machines which caused damage to this system", government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Tuesday.
"This was not an external attack and the location of the sabotage has been clearly determined," he added.
The paper said an explosion had "completely destroyed" the power system that fed the site's "underground centrifuges".
Washington denied any involvement.
It capped uranium enrichment -- measured by the presence of fissile isotope Uranium-235 -- at 3.67 percent.
It also limited the number of so-called first-generation centrifuges, the only type permitted.
But Iran has been producing uranium enriched up to 20 percent since January, adding to earlier steps away from its commitments in response to the US in 2018 pulling out of the deal and reimposing biting sanctions.
Alongside the new centrifuges themselves, Rouhani had on Saturday inaugurated a new centrifuge assembly factory at Natanz.
But early in the evening, Iran announced that it would begin to enrich uranium to 60 percent.
Eric Brewer, a senior fellow at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted on Twitter that the 60-percent target was "a significant... step" towards further shortening Iran's breakout timeline.
Indeed, it would quickly allow Iran to reach the 90-percent threshold needed for military purposes, even if it has repeatedly insisted it does not seek an atomic bomb.
For Brewer, enriching to 60 percent "is... unlikely to have the intended effect of forcing the US to accept Iran's demands.
"So, buckle up" for a bumpy diplomatic ride, he forecast.
On Monday, Marc Finaud, head of Arms Proliferation at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, said events at Natanz represented "not only sabotage of centrifuges," but a "sabotage of diplomacy".