File photo of Natanz nuclear facility in Iran Photograph:( Reuters )
The episode has come a day after Iran said it had started advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges at the site
Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation said on Sunday that its Natanz nuclear facility was hit by a terrorist act. This claim was made hours after it had said that an "accident" had caused a power failure there.
The episode has come a day after Iran said it had started advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges at the site. This is a breach of its commitment under 2015 nuclear deal.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Iran Atomic Energy Organisation (IAEO), condemned a "futile" act, while urging the international community to "confront this anti-nuclear terrorism", in a statement carried by state television.
The attack was carried out by "opponents of the country's industrial and political progress, who aim to prevent development of a thriving nuclear industry," he said, without specifying what country or entity might be behind the alleged sabotage.
IAEO spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi had earlier reported an accident at the enrichment facility caused by a "power failure". No-one was injured and there was no radioactive release, the official Fars news agency reported, citing the spokesman.
Kamalvandi said there had been "an accident in part of the electrical circuit of the enrichment facility" at the Natanz complex near Tehran.
"The causes of the accident are under investigation and more details will be released later," he added, before the later statement put out by the agency's chief.
He did not say whether power was cut only in the enrichment facility or across other installations at the site.
Malek Chariati, spokesman for the Iranian parliament's energy commission, took to Twitter to allege sabotage.
"This incident, coming (the day after) National Nuclear Technology Day, as Iran endeavours to press the West into lifting sanctions, is strongly suspected to be sabotage or infiltration," Chariati said.
The nuclear deal was struck by USA and other world powers with Iran in 2015. However, former US President Donald Trump unilaterally took USA out of it in 2018.
(With AFP inputs)