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AFP
June 24, 2021

Iran foils attack on atomic energy agency building

AFP
June 24, 2021

TEHRAN: Iran foiled a sabotage attack on a building belonging to the country’s atomic energy agency, state television said, adding there were no casualties or damage.

“On Wednesday morning, a sabotage operation against one of the (Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran) buildings was foiled” and the attack “did not cause any damage in financial or human terms,” the broadcaster said.

“The saboteurs failed to carry out their plan,” it added, without giving further details on the building or the nature of the attack that had been averted. The incident comes as Tehran and world powers attempt to revive a hobbled 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme in Vienna talks.

That agreement is staunchly opposed by arch-foe Israel, which Iran accused of being behind a “small explosion” that hit its Natanz uranium enrichment plant in April.

Israel neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the blast, but public radio said it was a sabotage operation by the Mossad spy agency, citing unnamed intelligence sources. The New York Times, quoting unnamed US and Israeli intelligence officials, said there had been “an Israeli role” in the attack. At the time, the Iranian foreign ministry accused Israel of an act of “nuclear terrorism” aimed at scuttling the Vienna nuclear talks and vowed revenge. Israel has always opposed the nuclear agreement, which it says could allow the Islamic republic to develop a bomb. Iran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons. Yair Lapid, foreign minister in Israel’s new coalition government, last week pledged the Jewish state “will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb” and said he was opposed to a revival of the 2015 deal. Wednesday’s sabotage attack also comes two days after Iran said it temporarily shut down its only nuclear power plant at Bushehr on the country’s Gulf coast.