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Iran says bomb, not cyberattack responsible for explosion at nuclear site

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is blaming Israel for an explosion inside an Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz. Previously thought to have been caused by a cyberattack, Iran is now saying that the explosion was caused by a bomb.

Iran, however, vowed to push on with their nuclear program.

“The incident could slow down the development and production of advanced centrifuges in the medium term … Iran will replace the damaged building with a bigger one that has more advanced equipment,” Iranian Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said, according to the IRNA state news agency.

When asked about Israeli involvement in the attack Israeli foreign minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, said that “we take actions that are better left unsaid.”

Others Israeli officials blamed the Iranians for not having better safety protocols.

“All those systems are complex; they have very high safety constraints and I’m not sure [the Iranians] always know how to maintain them,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The New York Times reports that over the past several months there have been “dozens of episodes, including fires, at industrial complexes in Iran, and those, too, have been widely attributed to Israel.”

The Times cites two power plant explosions, one chlorine leak at a chemical factory that killed 19 and an explosion at a missile factory, at having possible Israeli connections.

Then today come reports of another factory explosion south of Tehran.

“The explosion rocked the Sepahan Boresh factory in the city of Baqershahr, south of Tehran, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, according to state media,” says the UK’s Daily Mail.

“It was caused by ‘workers being negligent whilst filling oxygen tanks’, the town’s governor Amin Babai was quoted as saying.”

Two men were killed in the blast.

Nearly five years ago today, then-President Obama announced a deal with Iran that he said ensured that Iran would not obtain nuclear weapons. However, the plan was never approved by the U.S. Senate and was subsequently scrapped by the Trump administration in favor of continued sanctions and isolation of Iran.

President Trump says he didn’t think the Iranians meant to live up to the deal to begin with, and in hindsight, he was right about that.   

“Tehran is increasingly isolated internationally,’ says the New York Times today, “even countries that have opposed U.S. action against Iran recently joined in accusing it of hiding nuclear activity from international inspectors.”

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