Incident on construction site at Natans

EA building under construction near Natan’s Iranian nuclear facility was damaged in an “incident” according to a spokesman. The uranium enrichment facility’s centrifuge operation suffered no damage on Thursday, and no radioactivity had leaked, said a spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency. He described the affected building as an “industrial shed”, which stands above ground and is not part of the enrichment plant. There is no need to worry, the spokesman said, according to the state news agency Irna.

So far, no construction work has been announced at Natans. The nuclear center is located about 250 kilometers south of the capital, Tehran. Natans includes underground facilities covered by 7.60 meter thick concrete that provides protection from air raids. The governor of the city of Natans, Ramasanali Ferdowsi, described the incident as “fire”. Firefighters and rescue teams had moved there, he said, according to the semi-official agency Tasnim.

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Natans is one of the facilities monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency based on the nuclear deal between Iran and several world powers. The IAEA did not initially respond to an inquiry about the incident. In Natans, uranium is enriched using centrifuges. According to the IAEA, Iran is currently enriching uranium to 4.5 percent fissile material, which is more than is permitted in the nuclear agreement. However, a purity of 90 percent is required for nuclear weapons. In the past, centrifuges in Natans had been destroyed by the Stuxnet computer virus, which is widely believed to have been created by the United States and Israel.

The IAEA recently asked the government in Tehran to allow the control of suspect nuclear sites. Israel’s existence is threatened by the Iranian nuclear and missile program. There have been international disputes over dealing with Iran and a protracted nuclear deal for years. In it, the country had allowed greater control over its nuclear weapons activities and, in return, relief from international economic sanctions. The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018.

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