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Iran foils sabotage attack

US blocks Iran-linked websites

Published : Thursday, 24 June, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 631

TEHRAN, June 23: Iran said it foiled a sabotage attack Wednesday on an atomic energy agency building in a mysterious incident that comes as the US blocked Iran-linked websites and as talks to revive a nuclear deal progressed.
State television said a "sabotage operation against one of the buildings (of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran) was foiled" without causing any casualties or damage.
"The saboteurs failed to carry out their plan," the broadcaster added, without identifying the building or the nature of the attack that had been averted.
The news of the attack came a day after the US Justice Department said it seized 33 Iranian government-controlled media websites which it alleged were hosted on US-owned domains in violation of sanctions.
Tehran warned on Wednesday that Washington's decision to block the sites was "not constructive" for ongoing talks aimed at bringing the United States back to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
That agreement is staunchly opposed by US ally Israel.
Iran accuses the Jewish state of being behind a sabotage attack on its Natanz uranium enrichment plant in April and the assassination of its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last November.
Israel neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the "small explosion" at Natanz, but public radio said it was a sabotage operation by the Mossad spy agency, citing unnamed intelligence sources.
The New York Times, quoting unnamed US and Israeli intelligence officials, said there had been "an Israeli role" in that attack.
At the time, the Iranian foreign ministry accused Israel of an act of "nuclear terrorism" aimed at scuttling the Vienna nuclear talks and vowed revenge.
The Jewish state has also never commented on Fakhrizadeh's assassination.
Israel argues the nuclear agreement could allow the Islamic republic to develop a bomb. Iran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons.
Yair Lapid, foreign minister in Israel's new coalition government, last week pledged the Jewish state "will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb" and said he was opposed to a revival of the 2015 deal.
Wednesday's sabotage attack also comes two days after Iran said it temporarily shut down its only nuclear power plant at Bushehr on the country's Gulf coast for maintenance work.
The Bushehr plant and its 1,000-megawatt reactor were built by Russia and officially handed over in September 2013, despite concerns over its location in an earthquake-prone area.    -AFP




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