Saturday, 19 June, 2021


Iran names suspect in ‘sabotage’ attack on nuclear facility

China urges U.S. to return to JCPOA immediately, unconditionally Iran says it has enriched uranium with 60% purity
Bennie Garza | 17 April, 2021, 21:36

The man Tehran accuses of being behind the recent explosion at its main Natanz nuclear plant has been named by Iranian state TV.

State television named the suspect as 43-year-old Reza Karimi.

Despite the words which are sure to raise the alarm in Tel Aviv, possibly provoking more military action against Iranian facilities, Rouhani again reiterated the Islamic Republic's official position that it's not interested in pursuing nuclear weapons, but that it's program is for peaceful energy purposes. But a search of Interpol's website Saturday did not turn up any mention of a red notice for Karimi. The arrest notice was not immediately accessible on Interpol's public-facing database.

In Vienna, a spokesperson for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, declined to comment on the Iranian statements about 60 per cent enrichment.

"Necessary steps are under way for his arrest and return to the country through legal channels", it added.

According to IRIB, Karimi spoke both Farsi and English, and would "likely" visit Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey along with several countries.

This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows the Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran on April 7.

The announcement also marks a significant escalation after the attack this past weekend that damaged centrifuges at Natanz that is suspected of having been carried out by Israel.

Iran's announcement came in the midst of delicate negotiations in Vienna meant to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, threatening to upend the talks.

The talks are aimed at determining which sanctions the United States should lift and the measures Iran has to take in order to rein in Tehran's nuclear program.

"It appears that a new agreement is taking shape and there is now a common final goal among all", he added.

Iran's deputy foreign minister and head of the delegation to Vienna, Abbas Araghchi, said Saturday that there were "good discussions" in the session and that "a new understanding is being formed".

Enrique Mora, the European Union official who chaired the talks, tweeted that "progress has been made in a far from easy task".

"Therefore, the concerns raised by the USA and Europe. and the perception that the 60% enrichment means moving towards 90%, is not true; It is wrong to think that we are paving the way for the production of atomic bombs", Rouhani said Thursday.

The 2015 nuclear deal, which former president Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from in 2018, prevented Iran from stockpiling enough high-enriched uranium to be able to pursue a nuclear weapon if it chose in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. "But we have to work on arrangements to drop it to five grams per hour".

But the Islamic Republic now has no such ships in its navy.

Iran's hopes that President Joe Biden would quickly fulfill his campaign promises and get America back into the nuclear deal have so far been dashed, with Washington demanding that Tehran first "get back into compliance" with the agreement's limitations on nuclear enrichment. Earlier this week, it sent its inspectors to Natanz and confirmed Iran was preparing to begin 60 percent enrichment at an above-ground facility at the site.

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