A sabotage attempt on one of the facilities of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization that Iran claimed to have thwarted caused “major damage,” the Jerusalem Post has reported.
The unspecified threat was “neutralized before it damaged the building, and the saboteurs failed to carry out their plan,” Iran’s ISNA news agency reported, adding there were no casualties.
According to the Post, the site, located near Karaj City on the outskirts of the capital of Tehran, was significantly damaged. It was also likely to be a manufacturing plant for centrifuges, which the report said would mean a major setback for the regime’s uranium enrichment program for nuclear weapons.
Citing a report authored by David Albright, a former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official, the report said the site was likely being used to secretly manufacture centrifuges in violation of the 2015 Obama-led nuclear deal.
A senior Iranian intelligence official also confirmed to the New York Times that the attack targeted one of the main manufacturing centers for the production of centrifuges in Iran, known as the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company, or TESA. TESA was on a list of targets presented to the Trump administration last year by Israel.
Iran’s state-run Mehr News Agency said the saboteurs had employed a quadcopter to attack the site which was eventually shot down.
The news comes amid indirect talks in Vienna between Iran and the U.S. to return to the tattered 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal, from which the Trump administration withdrew in 2018.
Hours after the attack, Iran claimed the U.S. had offered to remove 1,040 sanctions that were imposed under Donald Trump, including removing senior figures from a blacklist.
Raisi, has declared Iran will not agree to restrictions on its ballistic missile development or its support for terror proxies throughout the region as a condition for returning to the nuclear deal.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog on Friday demanded Iran provide an immediate answer as to whether it will agree to extend the nuclear facility monitoring and inspection agreement that has expired. Iran’s envoy on the matter responded that the country is not required to comply with the demand.