Israel’s Cyberattack On Iranian Nuclear Facility So ‘Severe’ That Facility Might Be Down Till 2022: Report
Published in Apr 2021 / Updated in Aug 2021
Allegedly, Israel’s Mossad is behind a cyberattack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. The attack was so severe that the facility might have to halt its uranium enriching processes until 2022.
A day before the attacks, Iranian officials had boasted about the country’s new centrifuges during the National Nuclear Technology Day. The development would help the country ease the process of creating nuclear weapons.
After a large explosion, the extensive damage destroyed the internal power system that serves the underground centrifuges used to enrich uranium. The centrifuges are heavily protected and completely independent.
The officials who were informed about the issue spoke about it on the condition of anonymity. They claimed it was part of a classified Israeli operation.
They also explained that the explosion had caused serious damage to the country’s ability to enrich uranium. It might take at least nine months before Nantanz’s production starts working again.
This devastating attack comes while President Joe Biden is trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran. Experts have warned that this desperate act could result in America losing its leverage on Iran.
President Donald Trump considered authorizing an attack on the facility before he left office in consideration of Biden’s position on Iran, which he considered a weakness. Trump thought that Biden would put the Iran nuclear deal back on the table.
In the final weeks of Trump’s presidency, a top Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated, and Israel is believed to be behind the move.
It has not been that long since it was reported that Biden was going to lift sanctions on Iran.
Rebeccah Heinrichs, a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute, explained that “undoing the strategy that was working in the Middle East, and giving Iran what it wants” would encourage “nuclear blackmail, hostage-taking, and terrorism against US bases.”
According to Heinrichs, this move would be a waste of leverage and cautioned that if this were Biden’s strategy with the Middle East, then normalization agreements between Arab states and Israel would come to a stop. She believes that the ability to see Iran as the main source of instability in the region and act accordingly was key to success.
The attack is clear proof that Israel will do all it can to protect itself, according to Andrea Stricker, who is a Research Fellow at Foundation for Defense Democracies:
“Israel has shown once again that it will preserve its own security by carrying out acts of sabotage against Iran’s nuclear program… It is cleverly using limited attacks against key facilities rather than the large-scale airstrikes that governments have previously debated”
This kind of damage can handicap Iran’s ability to use nuclear extortion for several months.
Stricker also pointed out that the Biden administration needed to come to its senses about re-entering the 2015 nuclear deal. The arrangement involves offering massive sanctions relief to Iran, the leading source of terror in the world.
Sabotage efforts against Iran are likely to increase if the U.S. seems keen to ease sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation.
According to Amos Yadlin, the former Israel Defense Forces chief of Military Intelligence, the cyberattack would have been an “extraordinary achievement” if it had managed to destroy all of Iran’s 6,000 centrifuges.