White House: U.S. Not Involved in Natanz Incident, Nuclear Talks to Continue as Planned

Iran accused Israel of sabotaging its Natanz nuclear site and vowed revenge for an attack that appeared to be latest episode in a long-running covert war

Ben Samuels
Reuters
Washington
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A view of the Natanz enrichment facility in Iran, on Monday.
A view of the Natanz enrichment facility in Iran, on Monday.Credit: Maxar Technologies/Handout via Reuters
Ben Samuels
Reuters
Washington

UPDATE: 'Remotely detonated device' blew up Iran's Natanz nuke site; former PM says 'explosives were planted there in advance, maybe 10 or 15 years ago'

WASHINGTON – The United States was not involved in any attack on Iran's key Natanz nuclear site and has no comment on speculation about the cause of the incident, the White House said on Monday.

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"The U.S. was not involved in any manner," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing. "We have nothing to add on speculations about the causes or impact."

Earlier on Monday, Iran accused Israel of sabotaging the Natanz site and vowed revenge for an attack that appeared to be latest episode in a long-running covert war.

This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, last week.Credit: Planet Labs Inc.,AP

Tehran vowed revenge for what it described as an act of "nuclear terrorism" that caused an electricity outage in one of the production halls at the uranium enrichment plant.

In a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif argued: "Deliberate targeting of a safeguarded nuclear facility – with high risk of indiscriminate release of radioactive material – is nuclear terrorism and a war crime."

"If the U.S. wants to avert consequences of this foolish gamble, it must cease to consider economic terrorism perpetrated by Trump or recent nuclear terrorism as negotiating leverage and remove all sanctions imposed, reimposed or relabeled since the adoption of the JCPOA," Zarif added, referring to the 2015 deal's formal name.

Israel fiercely opposes Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, an accord that Iran and the new administration of President Joe Biden are engaged in trying to revive after then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned it three years ago.

Israel, whose existence Iran does not recognize, has not formally commented on the incident.

Iran and the global powers described as "constructive" talks last week to salvage the nuclear deal, which has unraveled as Iran has breached its limits on sensitive uranium enrichment since Trump reimposed harsh sanctions on Tehran.

Talks are expected to resume on Wednesday in Vienna, and Psaki said she expected them to be "difficult and long."

"We have not been given any indication about a change in participation," by Iran, she said.

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