December 3, 2021
Israel used an Iranian network of agents to conduct sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear facilities, a new report by The Jewish Chronicle said Thursday.
A large explosion in April that inflicted major damage to the Natanz uranium enrichment site was conducted by recruiting several Iranian scientists working in the complex, the report says. They smuggled explosives into the highly secure facility and at the chosen moment the explosion was triggered remotely.
The Jewish Chronicle (JC) says 90 percent of centrifuge machines enriching uranium were destroyed and the facility was put out of action for nine months. The scientists and people involved in the operation were evacuated from Iran and are in a safe place the report adds.
The Natanz incident rattled the Iranian leadership, because it was so large, they could not hide it, or claim it was a technical accident. The Islamic Republic heavily promotes an image of invincibility to keep control of its restive population and successful sabotage acts damage its image domestically.
Natanz was the target of an earlier attack in July 2020, when a sensitive building for manufacturing new centrifuges blew up. The JC report says that in this operation explosives were imbedded in construction material that Iran bought from Israeli agents and when the time came the Mossad pushed the button.
The spectacular assassination of a top Iranian nuclear and military scientist in November 2020 was another sabotage act widely attributed to Israel, when a remotely operated heavy rifle was placed in a van and opened fire at the car of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, killing him on the spot, despite the presence of a team of bodyguards.
This led to mutual recrimination between security agencies but was particularly embarrassing to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which had the responsibility to protect Fakhrizadeh.
As the Biden Administration has been trying to revive the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran, abandoned by Donald Trump in 2018, Israel has become highly worried that Tehran will get maximum concessions from the US and keep its nuclear program intact. Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened in recent months to use military force if needed to deny Iran a nuclear option.