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Iran ‘foils’ nuclear site sabotage it ascribes to Israel

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TEHRAN: Iran said its security forces had thwarted planned sabotage at the country’s major Fordow nuclear site by a network it accused Israel of recruiting. It said the forces made arrests, state television reported.

Fordow is an underground uranium enrichment facility located outside the central city of Qom, around 180 kilometres south of Tehran.

The television added, an Israeli officer first contacted a neighbour of an employee of the uranium enrichment plant and managed to recruit them both after paying them in cash and digital currency, The Israeli Prime Minister’s office had no immediate comment on the report.

Revolutionary Guards security agents were monitoring the network and were able to break it up before the sabotage could be carried out, arresting an unspecified number of people, the television said.

The state news agency, said a new agency called Revolutionary Guards Nuclear Command, which it said had been set up to oversee defence and security matters at nuclear installations, was involved in the operation to stop the planned sabotage.

The news agency did not specify the identity of the suspects or say how many were arrested.

Iran has accused Israel of carrying out several attacks on facilities linked to its nuclear programme and of killing its nuclear scientists over the past years. Israel has neither denied nor confirmed the allegations.

In April 2021, Tehran said an incident that disrupted the flow of power at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility, in the desert in the central province of Isfahan, was caused by an act of “nuclear terrorism”.

Iran has repeatedly accused US or Israeli agents of spying on and attempting to sabotage its nuclear programme, including by killing scientists.

In August 2012, saboteurs blew up power lines supplying Fordow.

Two years later, Iran said it had arrested several “spies” in Bushehr province, where the country’s sole nuclear plant is based.

In 2020, Tehran accused Israel of being responsible for the killing of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an attack near Tehran.

In April 2021, Tehran said an incident that disrupted the flow of power at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility, in the desert in the central province of Isfahan, was caused by an act of “nuclear terrorism”.

Israel has neither denied nor confirmed the allegations.

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