Damage at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility
Damage at Iran's Natanz nuclear facilityReuters

Iran’s top nuclear official condemned the attack on the country’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz as an act of “nuclear terrorism”, and hinted that Iran may retaliate.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and a former Foreign Minister, spoke with Irib News Sunday about the prospects of lifting US sanctions, as well as the recent attack on the Natanz nuclear facility.

Salehi downplayed the impact of the attack, saying that the ‘incident’ had failed to cause serious damage to Iran’s nuclear program.

"The action taken against the Natanz enrichment center shows the failure of the opponents of the country's industrial and political progress to prevent the significant development of the nuclear industry."

Nevertheless, Salehi castigated those responsible, calling the attack an act of “nuclear terrorism”. Salehi also hinted that Iran may retaliate for the incident.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran, while condemning this despicable move, emphasizes the need for the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency to deal with this nuclear terrorism and reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators."

To thwart the goals of the commander of this terrorist movement, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to seriously expand nuclear technology on the one hand and to lift oppressive sanctions on the other."

Several Western intelligence officials told Channel 13 that Israel’s Mossad agency was responsible for the attack.

The attack is said to have significantly impaired Iran's uranium enrichment operations, forcing a temporary halt to all uranium enrichment efforts in the country. Power has yet to be restored to the Natanz facility.

Earlier on Sunday, an Iranian official blamed "sabotage" for the disruption of the electrical distribution grid of the country’s Natanz nuclear facility Sunday.

Malek Shariati Niasar, the spokesman for the Iranian parliament’s energy committee, wrote on Twitter that the accident, which occurred one day after the plant began enriching uranium, was "very suspicious" and speculated that it was caused by “sabotage and infiltration.”

Iran has stated that there were no casualties or radiation leakage from the incident.