Mixed reactions to Natanz incident: From denial of interference to expressing concern

April 12, 2021 - 22:14

TEHRAN— The power outage on Sunday at the Natanz nuclear site on Sunday morning decommissioned centrifuges and stopped the enriching process for a brief period of time. The Iranian officials called the incident an “act of sabotage”, “nuclear terrorism” and a “crime against humanity.”

However, there are mixed reactions to the incident. The White House has not taken an official stance on the matter, while an informed official in the Biden administration spoke with the Washington Post, stating that the Biden administration has observed the reports on the Natanz incident, denying any interference by the U.S., saying they have nothing to add to the rumors surrounding the story.

The European Union stated that the incident “might be a destructive action” amid nuclear talks with Iran, calling any efforts to stop the negotiations “unacceptable.”

The EU has said that the issue of Iran's nuclear deal should be resolved through dialogue, not offensive actions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman, Fredrik Dahl, spoke with the Rianovosti on Monday, stating that the IAEA is aware of the incident and is in touch with the Iranian officials.

“We are aware of yesterday's media report on Natanz and are in contact with Iranian officials in this regard.” Dahl said.

Germany, one of the P4+1 countries that has a seat in the Vienna negotiations, expressed concerns over the adverse effects of the incident on the Vienna negotiations.

Heiko Maas, German Foreign Minister, stated on Monday that “what we are currently hearing from Tehran, especially from Natanz, is not a positive thing for the negotiations.”

Maas said that the Vienna talks would not be “easy”, however, there has been a “constructive spirit,” shown by the participants in the negotiations.

“The situation in Natanz will take on a ‘special meaning’ and could provide clues as to the extent to which what is being discussed in Vienna will be implemented by Tehran,” Maas added.

Russia showed a stronger reaction. Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated, “If the incident was a deliberate attack, it should be strongly condemned.”

She expressed hope that what happened in Natanz will not become a "gift" to the enemies of the JCPOA and will not weaken the talks in Vienna to revive this agreement.

She continued by saying that Russia has been closely following the reports of the incident, “We are closely following media reports and statements by Iranian officials regarding the situation at the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, where a serious incident has taken place. We are sure that the cause of this incident will be fully investigated by the Iranian side.”

SA/PA

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