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Iran's Nuclear Spokesman Injured While Inspecting Natanz Facility

The Spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) Behruz Kamalvandi was injured in an incident while inspecting the Natanz nuclear facility on Sunday after an apparent cyberattack that led to electricity disruption and a fire.

Reports say that Kamalvandi, hours after the incident in Natanz, visited the site with the head of the AEOI Ali Akbar Salehi and sustained an injury while doing an inspection.

The head of the medical university in the nearby city of Kashan, Alireza Moraveji told local media that the incident happened during inspection and Kamalvandi fell from a height of seven meters (23 feet). He added that Kamalvadi’s overall health is satisfactory, but his ankle and head have sustained fractures.

Salehi Sunday evening called the incident at Natanz “nuclear terrorism” and repeated his earlier remarks that it is a sign of defeat for opponents of Iran’s nuclear program who had to resort to such act. Earlier in the day he had said that the goal of the attack was to derail nuclear talks taking place in Vienna between Iran and world powers.

A day after Iran said it had injected uranium gas into new advanced centrifuge machines, the spokesman of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi reported early Sunday that "an accident in the electricity grid" of the underground Natanz enrichment facility had taken place. 

“The accident caused no casualties or pollution,” Kamalvandi said Sunday morning without specifying the time of the incident. The incident has affected the electricity distribution grid of the facility, he added. He did not provide any more details about the impact of the incident on operations at Natanz.

Later, The jerusalem Post reported (link is external)that what happened in Natanz "was not an accident" but most probably a cyberattack by Israel, similar to past attacks in 2010 by the Stuxnet virus and a mysterious attack in July 2020. The incident happened on Iran's National Nuclear Day, adding to suspicions that the incident was an act of sabotage. Israeli sources said that the attack was much more serious than what was reported by Iran.

By mid-day, Salehi confirmed that an attack had taken place on the Natanz nuclear facility without providing details or mentioning the nature of the attack.

In the evening, former Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Mohsen Rezaei tweeted that a blaze occurred in Natanz and questioned if this incident and the mysterious attack in July 2020 were not the work of “infiltrators”. He also did not disclose the extent of the blaze in his short tweet.

In June and July 2020, a series of unusual incidents happened in several Iranian military and sensitive sites, including at one part of the Natanz facility on July 2, where uranium enrichment machines were being assembled.

Hours after the July incident, the official government news agency (IRNA) said there was a possibility of Israel's involvement in the incident. Besides explosions in Iran's military and nuclear facilities, Israel has also been blamed for the assassination of several of Iran's nuclear scientist including Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on November 26, 2020 outside Tehran.  

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