Iran identifies perpetrators of sabotage at Natanz nuclear facility: AEOI spokesman

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A handout picture provided by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) shows a shed after it was damaged at the Natanz facility in central Iran on July 2, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the country's security forces have identified the perpetrators of an act of sabotage at Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran in July.

“It is for the security organizations to painstakingly investigate [the incident] and they are expected to give their final view in this regard. Their investigations are underway and as far as we know, they have detected the agents [who committed the act of sabotage] as well as the motive, methods and manner of the sabotage,” Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Sunday.

He added that the saboteurs sought to disrupt the uranium enrichment process at the Natanz facility, but they failed.

Therefore, the Iranian official said, the AEOI decided to build another shed at the nuclear facility, stressing, “Their desperate effort did not stop us.”

The AEOI spokesman likened the current conditions facing the country to a ‘scene of war,’ saying, “We might suffer a loss in this scene, but it only makes us more motivated for defense and work.”

On July 2, Iran said an incident had affected a shed under construction at Natanz, but it caused no casualties and failed to stop enrichment work at the facility.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said later that the "main cause" of the incident had been determined and would be announced at an appropriate time.

SNSC Spokesman Keyvan Khosravi says experts from different sectors started investigating "different hypotheses" about the Natanz incident immediately after its occurrence, and have determined its main cause.

"Due to some security considerations, the cause and manner of this incident will be announced at a proper time," he added.

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Elsewhere in his remarks, Kamalvandi said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is under political pressure and its Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has also confirmed this issue, but promised to act in a professional way.

Pointing to a trip by the IAEA's chief to Tehran on August 24 and 25 and his talks with senior Iranian officials, which led to the issuance of a joint statement aimed at strengthening cooperation and building more confidence, the AEOI spokesman said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran has nothing to conceal. So, it allowed the IAEA to have access to demanded sites, because further prolongation of this issue and not giving the agency the permission [to visit those sites] would have only benefited the US."

At the end of the two-day trip by the IAEA chief, Iran and the UN agency issued a joint statement on agreements and the results of high-level talks between the two sides.

"After intensive bilateral consultations, Iran and the IAEA reached an agreement on the resolution of the safeguards implementation issues specified by the IAEA, in good faith. In this regard, Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA and facilitating the IAEA verification activities to resolve these issues," the statement added.

In its quarterly report on Friday, the IAEA said Iran has granted the agency's inspectors access to one of the two sites it agreed last week for verification purposes.

It added that the IAEA inspected the sites and took environmental samples there while the agency's inspectors would visit the other site "later in September 2020 on a date already agreed with Iran, to take environmental samples."

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