Iran on Monday confirmed that a mysterious explosion last month at one of its nuclear facilities was an "act of sabotage," but provided few other details about who was behind the attack.
A July explosion at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility sparked allegations that Israel may have struck a site that both it and the United States believe is fueling Iran’s undisclosed work on an atomic weapon. The site is home to equipment that allows Iran to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, to levels needed to power a bomb.
"Security investigations confirm the sabotage nature of this action and what is certain is that the explosion took place in Natanz, but the security officials will announce the details of the explosion and how it took place in due time," Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said in an interview with Iran’s state-controlled media.
The allegations of sabotage come as international nuclear inspectors travel to Iran in a bid to obtain greater clarity on its increased nuclear work, which includes stockpiling heavy water—a nuclear byproduct that also could fuel a weapon. Iranian officials say they will continue to export excess heavy water to European countries for storage, but they would not name which countries due to concerns over U.S. sanctions.
Meanwhile, the United States continues to push a United Nations measure to reimpose all sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the landmark nuclear accord with the country. This effort is opposed by European nations still party to the agreement and is likely to emerge as a diplomatic flashpoint in the leadup to the 2020 U.S presidential elections.