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Iran to retaliate against Israel over cyber attacks on nuke plant

Iranian officials hold Israel responsible for Sunday sabotage at Natanz facility.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Monday that Israel was behind Sunday’s attack on the Natanz nuclear facility near Tehran, according to local media.

“The Zionist regime (Israel) aims to take revenge on Iran for successful lifting the sanctions,” the state news agency IRNA quoted Zarif as saying.

The statement came during a meeting of the Majlis (parliament)’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, in which Zarif briefed lawmakers on last week’s nuclear negotiations in Vienna.

“Iran will not allow the Zionists to reach their goals and will take revenge for such measures”, Zarif noted.

Describing the ongoing nuclear negotiation process as “sensitive”, the top diplomat called for protecting the country’s nuclear facilities and scientists.

He said that Iran will give a response to Israel by “making further nuclear achievements”.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on Monday that many sources link the sabotage act to Israel.

“Iran would take revenge in appropriate time”, Khatibzadeh said, adding that the act is not going to impact Iran’s nuclear activities.

On Sunday, spokesperson of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi, reported “an accident in part of the electrical circuit” in the Natanz nuclear facility. He said no casualties nor pollution were caused by the accident.

Later on Sunday, Iran’s top nuclear official said that power failure at the nuclear facility is “nuclear terrorism.”

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the AEOI, said the act was an attempt to thwart the ongoing negotiations with the US in Vienna.

The accident came a day after Tehran unveiled new advanced uranium centrifuges.

Tensions between Iran and its long-time adversary Israel have escalated in recent months, especially after diplomatic efforts led by US President Joe Biden to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Former President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the Iranian nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in 2018.

Late last year, Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated. Tehran blamed Tel Aviv for the killing, and threatened to retaliate.

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