TEHRAN, April 19. /TASS/. Israeli intelligence agencies sought to fully disable the Natanz nuclear facility by carrying out an act of sabotage, academic council member at the Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies Hassan Beheshtipour told TASS on Monday.
"Israel expected that all centrifuges [at the facility] would break down and the uranium enrichment process would stop so that Iran would lose the opportunity to bargain during the Vienna talks," he pointed out.
According to the expert, "by replacing the centrifuges with more advanced ones and launching the enrichment of uranium to 60% purity, Iran has made it clear that the attack cannot stop the implementation of Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program."
"It was a response to another party’s actions. However, if the talks prove to be fruitful, Iran will return to full compliance with the nuclear deal [which allows Tehran to enrich uranium up to 3.67% - TASS]," Beheshtipour pointed out.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on April 13 that Tehran was starting to enrich uranium to 60% purity. According to the country’s President Hassan Rouhani, the move came in response to Israel’s subversive activity at the Natanz facility. He added that the enrichment process would be conducted for peaceful purposes and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Tehran said on April 11 that the Natanz nuclear site had been hit by a power failure resulting in an explosion. Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi described the incident as an act of nuclear terrorism. The New York Times wrote that "American and Israeli intelligence officials said there had been an Israeli role." Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later pointed to Israel’s involvement in the incident.