Iran foils sabotage attack on atomic energy agency building: State TV

WION Web Team
Tehran, IranEdited By: Moohita Kaur GargUpdated: Jun 23, 2021, 07:20 PM IST
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File photo. Photograph:(Reuters)

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This reported drone attack on the building of Iran's atomic energy body comes to light as Tehran and other world powers attempt to revive the nuclear deal, formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Amid the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and P5 + 1 countries, Iran’s state television reported that on Wednesday, the country foiled a sabotage attack on a building belonging to its Atomic Energy Agency.

There were no casualties or damage, the reports added.

While the state broadcaster didn't mention any details on the building or the nature of this attack, they say that "the saboteurs failed to carry out their plan". Some reports said it was a drone attack.

"On Wednesday morning, a sabotage operation against one of the (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran) building was foiled" and the attack "did not cause any damage in financial or human terms," a report claimed.

This incident comes to light as Tehran and other world powers attempt to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a hobbled 2015 agreement on Iran's nuclear programme in Vienna talks. The talks are currently paused as representatives of all the party nations returned to their respective capitals for consultations.

This agreement is staunchly opposed by Iran’s arch-foe Israel, a country that has always opposed the nuclear agreement. According to Israel, it could allow the Islamic republic to develop a nuclear bomb, but Iran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons.

Over the past years, Iran has accused its arch-enemy of several attacks on facilities linked to the country’s nuclear program, and assassination of Iran nuclear scientists, allegations that Israel has neither denied nor confirmed.

Earlier this year, Iran had accused Israel of being behind a "small explosion" that hit its Natanz uranium enrichment plant in April.

While the Israeli government didn’t comment on the accusations, Israeli public radio was heard citing intelligence sources and saying that it was a sabotage operation by the Mossad spy agency.

Even the New York Times, while quoting unnamed US and Israeli intelligence officials, reported that there had been "an Israeli role" in the attack.

The Iranian foreign ministry then accused Israel of an act of "nuclear terrorism" which according to them was aimed at scuttling the Vienna nuclear talks and vowed revenge.

On the other hand, Yair Lapid, foreign minister in Israel's new coalition government, last week pledged that the Jewish state "will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb" and said he was opposed to a revival of the 2015 deal. 

'Good chance' of a nuclear deal

Germany, which is a party to the nuclear talks, said on Wednesday that it believes there is a "good chance" a deal can be struck soon.

In a joint press conference with Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the press, "Regarding the negotiations in Vienna, they aren't easy, that's been clear in recent weeks."

"Nevertheless, we are moving forward step by step in every round of negotiations and we assume that in the context of the (Iranian) presidential election, there's a good chance to conclude them in the foreseeable future."

The 2015 nuclear deal that promised Iran sanctions relief in return for limits on its nuclear programme was torpedoed in 2018 when the then, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

(With inputs from agencies)