Iran: “Incident” damages under-construction building near nuclear enrichment site

BREAKING: An “incident” damaged an under-construction building near Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.

US-based analysts said they believe a fire struck a new centrifuge production facility, calling the incident a “military attack.”

Mideast intelligence officials said the blast was caused by an explosive device planted inside the facility. The explosion destroyed much of the aboveground parts of the site, where new centrifuges are balanced before they are put into operation.

Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi did not give details of what happened at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant, but he said that there were no casualties or concerns about radiation.

Kamalvandi described the affected building as an industrial shed” above ground and not part of the enrichment facility itself. There was no previously announced construction work at Natanz, a uranium enrichment center some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of the capital, Tehran.

However, the incident appeared serious enough for both Kamalvandi and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi to rush to Natanz.

Ramazanali Ferdowsi, governor of the town of Natanz, described the incident as a “fire.”

Natanz, in Iran’s central Isfahan province, hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility and it’s one of the sites monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency after Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal. Natanz includes underground facilities buried under some 7.6 meters (25 feet) of concrete, which offers protection from airstrikes.

The incident comes days after another mysterious explosion near Tehran. A huge explosion occurred at the Parchin military base belonging to the Revolutionary Guards terror group east of Tehran, the largest military explosive manufacturing site in Iran.

Last month, the board of governors at the UN’s nuclear watchdog called on Iran to stop denying the agency access to two former nuclear sites and to cooperate fully with it.