Iran Names Natanz ‘Saboteur,’ Says Interpol Notified
Iran on Saturday named a person allegedly responsible for the April 11 act of sabotage at the Natanz nuclear enrichment plant. Broadcasters have published a photo of a man identified as Reza Karimi.
The photo of the man was shown by state-run TV channels after being first shown in a video report published by the Young Journalists Club (YJC), which is managed by the political affairs bureau of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Karimi's position at the facility was not explained. The YJC report claimed the "perpetrator of the act of sabotage" had been pinpointed by Iranian intelligence but had already fled the country before April 11. The report showed an Interpol red notice with Karimi's picture and name, although a search on the Interpol website by Iran International did not return results.
However, the Karimi family name was also mentioned last July after another explosion at Natanz that destroed a centrifuge assembly complex. At the time Iranian media has reported that a contractor with the name of Ershad Karimi had been responsible. It is not clear whether the identical last name in the two incidents is a coincidance.
The video also showed footage of enrichment at Natanz and interviewed a staff member who said a large number of damaged centrifuges would need repair in coming days but the rest continued to spin. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said this week that Iran had increased to 60 percent the level of uranium enrichment at the site, which was visited on Wednesday by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.
A day after the incident, Nour News, a news website apparently affiliated to Ali Shamkhani the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), quoted an "informed source” in the Intelligence Ministry that it had identified the person responsible for sabotaging the power distribution system at the enrichment facility.
Iranian officials have called the incident an act of terrorism by Israel, which neither confirmed nor denied any role. Some Israeli media have claimed that the incident was a result of an Israeli cyberattack - similar to past attacks in 2010, by the Stuxnet virus, and one in July 2020 - while there have been other claims, including by US officials to the New York Times, that a bomb had been planted.
A video report allegedly showing Natanz nuclear site in operation
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has repeated his long-standing accusations that Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons, has come under criticism in Israel over the attack, including from defense minister Benny Gantz. With critics suggesting Netanyahu wanted to undermine talks in Vienna over reviving Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the Israeli premier claimed Iran wanted “nuclear capacity to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”
Some Iranian officials, including Mohsen Rezaei (Rezaee), Secretary of the Expediency Council and a former Revolutionary Guard commander, and media outlets have criticized intelligence bodies for failing to protect nuclear facilities. Rezaei said the country faced increased "security contamination" and infiltration.