Iran names suspect in Natanz facility blast, issues arrest warrant

April 17 (UPI) — Iranian intelligence officials on Saturday identified a suspect in an explosion at a nuclear facility in Natanz earlier this week.

Iran’s Mehr news agency, quoting official television, reported an arrest warrant was issued by the intelligence ministry for Reza Karimi, 43, naming him as the instigator of the Sunday incident in which the Natanz facility lost power and a number of its centrifuges were damaged.


The officials said Karimi, an Iranian, fled abroad before the incident and so they issued an arrest warrant to Interpol.

No casualties or pollution were caused by the attack, which Iran blamed on Israel as an act of “nuclear terrorism.”

Natanz is a uranium enrichment center, some 155 miles south of the capital, Tehran. The International Atomic Energy Agency monitors the site under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal signed six years ago by Iran, the United States, Britain, Russia, China, Germany, France and the European Union.

Following the attack, Iran announced it was increasing its uranium enrichment to 60% — a level far above the limit set by the JCPOA, but still well short of the 90% needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

Iranian Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi said the decision was the “natural result” of the “sabotage” at the enrichment center.

Iran’s stated plans came amid negotiations between Tehran and Washington about a U.S. return to the Obama-era nuclear deal, The indirect talks started last week.

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