Fire damages building at Iran nuclear site

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Friday 03 Jul 2020

Fire damages building at Iran nuclear site

(Sharecast News) - A fire reportedly damaged a building at one of Iran's nuclear facilities on Thursday morning, although authorities tried to downplay the incident.
US satellite data showed an explosion or fire breaking out at a building above the underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in central Isfahan province.

The BBC's Farsi service said it had received an email from a group calling itself "Cheetahs of the Homeland" claiming responsibility for carrying out an "operation".

The statement stated the group was made up of dissidents within Iran's defence establishment.

Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) spokesman Behruz Kamalvandi said there was an incident in "one of the industrial sheds under construction" at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

Iranian authorities downplayed the incident which is the third accident of the sort in the past week.

"There are physical and financial damages and we are investigating to assess," Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the AEOI, told Iranian state television. "There has been no interruption in the work of the enrichment site. The site is continuing its work."

The Iranian authorities said the blast was caused by "leaking gas tanks" at the site, but analysts said satellite photographs showed it happened at a nearby missile production facility.

This site in particular, had previously been the target of cyberattacks and where enrichment activity has been ramped up in the past year.

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