Iran Vows Revenge on Israel

On Monday Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, blamed Israel for an attack on the nuclear facility at Natanz and vowed to “take revenge on the Zionists.”

He said Israel is responsible for the power failure that is reported to have caused massive damage to the facility and vowed to replace the damaged centrifuges at the site with even better ones.

Zarif also said that the damage will not stop high-level talks that are in progress to restore the country’s nuclear deal with world powers.

In a meeting with lawmakers he noted that senior Israeli officials have said they would try to prevent international efforts to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which would lead to the United States lifting sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy. He said:

“Now they think they will achieve their goal. But the Zionists will
get their answer in more nuclear advancements.”

“If they think our hand in the negotiations has been weakened,
actually this cowardly act will strengthen our position in the talks.”

“Other parties to the talks must know that if they faced enrichment facilities
that used first-generation machines, now Natanz can be filled with
advanced centrifuges that have several times the enrichment capacity.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, later told a news conference in Tehran that “of course” Israel was behind the attack on Natanz. He went on to say:

“This incident, fortunately, did not cause any damage to human lives
or the environment. However, it could have been a catastrophe.
This is a crime against humanity and carrying out such actions
is in line with the essence of the Zionist regime.”

The irony of Iranians accusing others of a ‘crime against humanity’ is not lost on most observers.

It seems that two intelligence officials in the United States are a key source of information about the incident at Natanz. Speaking to the New York Times, they said it had been caused by a large explosion that destroyed the independent, internal power system for the underground centrifuges used for enriching uranium.

They claimed that the explosion had dealt a severe blow to Iran’s enrichment programme, expressing the view that it could take nine months or more for the Iranians to recover.

If correct, Iran’s leverage in the current talks to restore the JCPOA nuclear agreement could be significantly damaged. Iran has taken significant actions prohibited under the agreement in attempts to force the Americans to remove sanctions.

Speaking to Israel’s top military leaders on Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu described the battle against Iran and its proxies as “a colossal mission,” going on to say:

“It’s very hard to explain what we have achieved here in Israel,
going from total helplessness to being a global power.”

While the Prime Minister did not make any direct reference to the incident at Natanz, Hebrew-language public broadcaster Kan was among Israeli outlets that said Israel was likely responsible.

Channel 13 cited ‘Western intelligence sources’ as saying that a cyberattack by the Mossad security agency was behind the power failure.

This is just the latest in a series of incidents between Iran and Israel. The situation is increasing in severity as Iran refuses to back down from its avowed intention to destroy the Jewish-led state.

Israel’s Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, summarised their view on Sunday when he told a Press Conference:

“The regime in Tehran today constitutes a strategic threat to world security,
the Middle East, and the State of Israel.”