Advertisement

Iran names suspect in Natanz facility blast, issues arrest warrant

By
Don Jacobson
A view of the nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz, Iran, on November 18, 2005. Iranian intelligence Saturday named Reza Karimi as the alleged perpetrator behind last week's explosion at the plant. File photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE
A view of the nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz, Iran, on November 18, 2005. Iranian intelligence Saturday named Reza Karimi as the alleged perpetrator behind last week's explosion at the plant. File photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE

April 17 (UPI) -- Iranian intelligence officials on Saturday identified a suspect in an explosion at a nuclear facility in Natanz earlier this week.

Iran's Mehr news agency, quoting official television, reported an arrest warrant was issued by the intelligence ministry for Reza Karimi, 43, naming him as the instigator of the Sunday incident in which the Natanz facility lost power and a number of its centrifuges were damaged.

Advertisement

The officials said Karimi, an Iranian, fled abroad before the incident and so they issued an arrest warrant to Interpol.

No casualties or pollution were caused by the attack, which Iran blamed on Israel as an act of "nuclear terrorism."

RELATED Britain, France, Germany slam Iran for further violating 2015 nuclear deal

Natanz is a uranium enrichment center, some 155 miles south of the capital, Tehran. The International Atomic Energy Agency monitors the site under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal signed six years ago by Iran, the United States, Britain, Russia, China, Germany, France and the European Union.

Following the attack, Iran announced it was increasing its uranium enrichment to 60% -- a level far above the limit set by the JCPOA, but still well short of the 90% needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

Advertisement

Iranian Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi said the decision was the "natural result" of the "sabotage" at the enrichment center.

RELATED Iran to increase uranium enrichment amid U.S. talks to return to nuclear deal

Iran's stated plans came amid negotiations between Tehran and Washington about a U.S. return to the Obama-era nuclear deal, The indirect talks started last week.

RELATED Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin meets with PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel

Latest Headlines