The Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholam Ridha Jalali is a military commander in the Revolutionary Guards. (Tasnim)

May 24, 2021

Iran has continued restructuring the security of its nuclear facilities in light of the recent attacks against its Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

Head of the Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali announced Saturday forming the “Nuclear Defense and Security Unit Command” after receiving the approval of the Supreme National Security Council.

In an interview with the semi-official Mehr News Agency, Jalali said the nuclear installation incident in April was caused by the lack of coordination between security services in the country, affirming that the recent attacks were not cyber.

Earlier this month, Iranian media reports revealed that the Revolutionary Guards Corps had taken over the task of protecting nuclear facilities, following the two explosions in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in less than a year.

The public relations department at the Supreme National Security Council refused to comment on the news.

The Council will announce “the decisions taken through its spokesperson and official sources if necessary,” according to the state television.

Iran’s Natanz facility saw two explosions in less than a year.

In July last year, a fire broke out at the facility and caused significant damage that slowed the development of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges. Authorities said the explosion was a result of sabotage operations, noting that they will reveal in due time the reason behind the blast.

In September, it announced determining the cause and identifying the perpetrators but did not provide further details.

Another explosion hit the facility on April 11, knocking out power and breaking down thousands of first-generation centrifuges.

In response to the attack, authorities announced they will start enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity.

The move brings Iran closer to the 90 percent purity threshold for military use and shortens its potential “breakout time” to build an atomic bomb, a goal it denies.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran had committed to keeping enrichment to 3.67 percent, though it had stepped this up to 20 percent in January.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.