July 25, 2021

Blaming Israel, Iran Vows Revenge for Blackout at Nuclear Site

2 min read

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, threatened retribution for what he said was an attack at a uranium enrichment plant over the weekend. JERUSALEM — The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, vowed revenge against Israel on Monday morning, a day after a blackout at an Iranian nuclear enrichment site was attributed to an Israeli attack.

Mr. Zarif’s comments highlight the risk of escalation in a yearslong shadow war between Iran and Israel. They also threaten to overshadow efforts in Vienna to encourage Iran to reimpose limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of American sanctions. In a statement broadcast by Iranian state television, Mr. Zarif was quoted as saying: “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions.” He added, “But we will take our revenge from the Zionists,” according to the broadcast.

Mr. Zarif’s reported comments followed a power failure on Sunday at the Natanz uranium enrichment site that Iranian officials attributed to Israeli sabotage. The Israeli government formally declined to comment on its involvement, but American and Israeli officials confirmed separately to The New York Times that Israel had played a role. Several Israeli news outlets, citing intelligence sources, attributed the attack to the Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.

Two officials briefed on the matter told The Times that the blackout was caused by an explosion that targeted the power supply for thousands of underground centrifuges that form the main Iranian enrichment program. A spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said on Monday that the blast had created a crater so big that he had fallen into it, injuring his face.

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