An attack on Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant occurred yesterday that did massive damage and may set the plant back nine months or more. This may have been a cyber attack and probably included explosives. Several fires were reported.
Centrifuge machines spin a gaseous uranium compound at high speeds to separate out and concentrate uranium-235, the fissile isotope of uranium needed to fuel a nuclear reactor or nuclear bomb. These machines are prone to breakdown and may have been damaged by a power surge or being suddenly shut down due to the attack.
The timing of this attack was not a coincidence.
- Indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran are under way in Vienna. Biden’s diplomats appear prepared to give in to Iran’s demands to drop all U.S. sanctions and rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal (the JCPOA) in exchange for Iran ceasing some recent violations of the JCPOA. Addressing other major Iranian violations of the deal, Iranian cheating, and fixing the JCPOA’s flaws are not on the table.
- On Saturday, Iran announced it has installed the “IR-9” centrifuges which will allow it to enrich more uranium faster.
- Hours after the attack on the Natanz plant, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Israel for two days of talks with Israeli officials. I believe Israel did not give the Biden admin advance notice of the Natanz operation because it feared Biden officials would leak details to stop the attack.
Israel has no faith in Biden’s Iran policy and strongly opposes his admin’s efforts to rejoin he deeply flawed nuclear deal on Iran’s terms. If Israel was responsible for the damage to the Natanz plant, this would be a huge rebuke of the Biden admin.
More Israeli covert ops like this against Iran are likely. Israel is taking steps to defend its population if Iran retaliates.
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