Iran Says July Blast at Nuclear Facility Was Act of Sabotage

Iran said a blast that caused significant damage to a compound near the country’s largest uranium enrichment facility was a deliberate act of sabotage, the state-run Al Alam TV reported, citing an interview with a top nuclear official.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, didn’t give more details. He said an investigation into the July 2 incident at the Natanz facility in central Iran will be released by security officials in due course, Al Alam -- an Arabic-language TV network run by Iranian state TV -- reported on its website.

On July 13, the foreign ministry said it would “respond decisively” if Iran concluded that Natanz was deliberately targeted by a government or regime.

Officials have said the blast had little impact on Iran’s nuclear activities but caused “significant damage” to an outbuilding that was under construction.

Kamalvandi’s comments come a day before Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is due in Tehran for his first visit since taking office last December.

Kamalvandi said nuclear inspectors have requested access to two sites, one at Shahreza in Esfahan province and one on the outskirts of the capital Tehran, the semi-official Fars news reported, citing the Al Alam interview.

Access to the IAEA will be granted on the condition that “questions end for once and for all,” Fars quoted Kamalvandi as saying, without giving more details.

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