Iran Restores Power at Damaged Natanz Facility

27 April 2021

Iran has restored power supply at the damaged Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, state news agency IRNA said on 20 April.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, told the parliamentary foreign policy commission that power cables damaged in what Iran alleged was an act of sabotage by Israel have now been replaced and several centrifuges are now operating. Salehi also said that enrichment did not stop completely after the incident and the facility was enriching uranium up to 60%.

Iran’s permanent representative to the UN in Vienna, Kazem Gharib Abadi, said Iran had identified the perpetrator of the sabotage as 43-year-old spy Reza Kadimi, who had worked at the plant but fled Iran after the intelligence agency identified him.

The talks in Vienna aimed at bring the US back into the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran the P5+1 group of countries (the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany) continue to be reported as making progress. Under the deal Iran had agreed to curtail its nuclear development in return for the lifting of sanctions. When former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018, Iran had begun reactivating its nuclear programme.

In the wake of the Natanz attack, the Biden administration reportedly delivered a “sharp rebuke” to Israel for undermining its position in the talks with Iran, Israel’s Channel 12 reported. It said Biden officials had “sent a message to Israel that chatting and bragging about actions Israel is doing is dangerous, embarrassing and endangers the Americans in negotiations with Iran”.

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