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Iran admits ‘considerable’ damage at Natanz nuclear site

  • Spokesperson says fire could slow down centrifuge development, claims authorities have pinpointed the source of mysterious blast

By TOI staff. 05-07-2020

Iran is admitting there has been “considerable” damage at the Natanz nuclear site, where a mysterious fire last week ravaged a shed.

“We first learned that, fortunately, there were no casualties as a result of the incident, but financial damages incurred to the site due to incident were considerable,” says Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesperson for Iran’s atomic agency, according to local reports.

He says authorities have since pinpointed the source of the fire, but are withholding the information for national security reasons.

The spokesperson says the shed was first constructed in 2013 for the development of advanced centrifuges, though work was halted there in 2015 under the nuclear deal with world powers.

When the US withdrew from the nuclear deal, the work there was renewed, he says.

“After the US exit from JCPOA in May 2018 and order of Leader of the Islamic Revolution to AEOI to pave suitable ways for producing 190,000 SWU (Separative Work Unit) under JCPOA, the shed was inaugurated exactly two days after the order of the Leader on June 6, 2018,” says Kamalvandi.

The building will be replaced with a more advanced facility, he says, adding that the blast could slow down development of its centrifuges in the medium term.

Satellite photos from the site suggest that the damage is more extensive than previously admitted by the Iranian authorities.

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