Iran: 'Huge Explosion' Heard Near Natanz Nuclear Facility

Published December 5th, 2021 - 07:28 GMT
An explosion was heard near Iran's Natanz nuclear facility
A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows workers on a construction site in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant during an official ceremony to kick-start works for a second reactor at the facility. AFP / ATTA KENARE
Highlights
Bright light being seen in the sky near the Natanz facility in the Badroud region

The 'huge explosion' heard near a nuclear facility in Iran on Saturday was part of a military exercise, the regime has confirmed. 

The blast was heard in the skies over the Iranian city of Badroud, just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Natanz nuclear plant, the official IRNA news agency reported. 

Spokesman of the Iranian army, General Amir Tarikhani, confirmed it was part of a missile test and told state television there was no cause for concern. 

'An hour ago, one of our missile systems in the region was tested to assess the state of readiness on the ground, and there is nothing to fear,' the commander said. 

It came after earlier reports suggested an unidentified drone had been shot out of the sky.

'Badroud residents heard the noise and saw a light which showed an object had just blown up in the skies over the city,' a witness told IRNA.   

But according to Iran's state TV, the Islamic republic was testing its air defense system's rapid reaction force. 

The explosion was caused by a missile as part of a drill to test how quickly it could respond to an attack. 

It comes after Israel has said repeatedly that it stands ready to use all means, including force, to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

In response, Iran has carried out periodic exercises to improve the defences around its nuclear sites.

'To evaluate the systems based in the region, such exercises are carried out in a completely secure environment and in full coordination with the integrated defence network,' commander Tarikhani added.

Israel has been pushing hard for world powers to abandon talks with Iran on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal, which reopened in Vienna on Monday.

'A bad deal, which I hope they do not reach, is intolerable from our perspective,' the head of Israel's Mossad external intelligence agency, David Barnea, said Thursday.  

 

The United States warned Saturday that it would not allow Iran to 'slow walk' international negotiations over its nuclear programme, a day after heaping blame on Tehran for the stalled process.

'We can't accept a situation in which Iran accelerates its nuclear program and slow walks its nuclear diplomacy,' said a senior administration official.

The official said the United States was not yet planning to walk away from the talks, but that it hoped Iran would return 'with a serious attitude.' 

The Natanz facility has been the target of at least two attacks in the past two years.   

Iranian officials blamed Israel for an explosion in April which caused extensive damage at the site.   

There have been around five explosions at the site in recent years, according to Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, former head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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