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Iran: Power Outage at Plant Was 'Nuclear Terrorism'

Israel may have been behind the cyberattack, its media reports
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2021 11:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Iran has described a blackout at its underground Natanz atomic installation on Sunday an act of "nuclear terrorism." No injuries or leaks were caused by the problem with the power distribution network, the BBC reports. The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization didn't accuse anyone of being the culprit, but Israeli media outlets said it was a cyberattack, suggesting Israel was the attacker—which would only increase tension between the two nations. One Iranian statement blamed sabotage. Power across the Natanz plant was cut, an official said on state TV, per the AP. A fire that Iran blamed on a cyberattack damaged the site last year. Ali Akbar Salehi, the atomic energy official, said Iran "emphasizes the need for a confrontation by the international bodies"—including the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency—"against this nuclear terrorism."

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On Saturday, Iran inaugurated uranium enrichment centrifuges at the Natanz plant, per the Guardian, in an event attended by President Hassan Rouhani and shown live on TV. The centrifuges can be used in producing enriched uranium for making reactor fuel, as well material for nuclear weapons. The 2015 international nuclear treaty barred Iran from using that type of centrifuge. The US and Iran are beginning indirect negotiations about reviving the treaty, which former President Trump abandoned three years ago. US sanctions are part of the negotiations. Blaming terrorism, Salehi said Sunday that Iran will work "to seriously improve nuclear technology on the one hand and to lift oppressive sanctions on the other hand." US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Israel on Sunday for talks, per the AP; Israel's government is unenthusiastic about the US effort to revive the nuclear deal. (Read more Iran nuclear facilities stories.)

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