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Iran Foils Act of “Sabotage” Against Its Atomic Energy Organization Building

By Orkhan Jalilov June 25, 2021

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The picture shows Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. The reported sabotage in the Karaj nuclear facility follows several suspected attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear program in recent months. / AFP - Getty Images

Iran has reportedly thwarted a “sabotage” attempt against a building of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI). No damage or casualty was reported as a result.

“On Wednesday morning [June 23], an act of sabotage against one of the buildings belonging to the Atomic Energy Organization was foiled, and no damage or casualty was reported,” Iran’s Nour News website reported. 

“Thanks to the awareness of the protection and security institutions and organizations in the field of identifying and counteracting the sabotage aimed at damaging Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities, the sabotage failed to disrupt Iran’s plans in the nuclear sector,” the report added.

Responsible bodies are now investigating the incident in the building located near Karaj city, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Tehran. 

Founded in 1974, the Karaj facility deals with enhancing the “quality of soil, water, agricultural, and livestock production using nuclear technology.” 

An official from Iran’s Khatam ol-Anbia airbase, a military unit in charge of protecting the country’s airspace, denied the role of any drones in the foiled attack, saying that the incident “is in no way a drone attack but a security sabotage attack.” 

Meanwhile, on the same day, the spokesman of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran (CAOI), Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh, announced that all drone owners must register their devices at CAOI, which is the only authority for registration of drones, within six months, starting from July 12. 

According to Zibakhsh, users of non-military drones, including persons and entities, are required to register their drones on the online platform and receive a registration number. Non-registered unmanned aerial vehicles will be considered contraband. 

Meanwhile, the recent incident comes after several suspected sabotage attacks targeting Iran’s atomic program in recent months.

In April, Iran’s nuclear facility located near the city of Natanz suffered a blackout that caused damage to some of its centrifuges, an act Iran described as “nuclear terrorism.” In July 2020, a large explosion hit a centrifuge assembly facility in Natanz. The incident happened at an unfinished warehouse at the complex and caused significant damage, which could slow the production of centrifuges used to enrich uranium.

There have been several unexplained fires or blasts at sensitive sites in Iran, including explosions at a power plant in Ahwaz in July 2020 and a medical clinic in Tehran in June 2020. The second incident killed 19 people. In addition, a blast was reported in the same month at a liquid fuel production facility for ballistic missiles in Khojir, close to the Parchin military complex. 

Some Iranian officials suspect that some of these incidents might have been linked to Israeli sabotage or cyber-attacks but have not openly assigned blame yet. Meanwhile, Israel has denied their involvement in the incidents.