A building at Iran’s Natanz nuclear production plant, damaged in an explosion, July 2, 2020
Confirming their admission of a bombing of the Natanz nuclear site, Iran’s officials have named a contractor as the alleged perpetrator.
The Revolutionary Guards pinned the blame on Ershad Karimi, a contractor who owns a company that supplies precision measuring equipment.
The blast on July 2 destroyed an above-ground building for the balancing of advanced uranium centrifuges. Israel is suspected of responsibility.
Iranian officials initially played down the explosion as deliberate, but acknowledged a “deliberate attack” on July 7.
On Wednesday, MP Javad Karimi Qoddousi, a member of the Parliament’s National Security Committee, said a “security breach” led to the bombing. He pointed to the bomb being placed inside the building, ruling out “a strike on the complex by an external object”.
The statement blaming Karimi summarized:
Ershad Karimi, who was a contractor for many years and responsible for launching the uranium enrichment course at the Natanz nuclear plant in the central Isfahan Province, is the person involved in the bombing.
Ershad Karimi detonated the centrifuge hall with his team, and caused great damage to the country’s nuclear industry as well as the prestige of the system.
Karimi was cleared by the Isfahan Intelligence Agency to work as a contractor at the Natanz nuclear plant.
Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabai Nejad, the Friday Prayer leader in Isfahan and a member of the Assembly of Experts, also declared Karimi’s involvement.
Responding to the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposition of comprehensive sanctions, Iran has suspended its compliance with the deal’s provision over centrifuges and production of low-grade uranium.
The US and Israel are reportedly pursuing a series of operations, including cyber-warfare, to undermine the Iranian program. A series of explosions have occurred at Iranian military and infrastructure sites in the past two months, but Iranian officials have said all were accidents.