Iran’s top nuclear official said Monday that foreign estimates of the damage done to the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz are overblown, saying most of the repairs will be completed in days, not months.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, spoke at the inauguration of the Iran Quantum Technologies Center on Monday, addressing the explosion at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility Sunday.
Salehi downplayed the explosion, which has been widely attributed to Israel, saying that most of the repairs would be completed in a matter of days.
“You’ll see within the next few days that a remarkable part of the acts of sabotage by the enemy will be repaired. A number of (centrifuge) machines went off-grid because of yesterday’s incident, and a number of others need to be re-examined. The ones that have been damaged will be replaced,” said Salehi.
The AEOI chief went on to say that the Natanz facility’s capacity would be expanded by 50% following the sabotage.
“Let me tell you that whatever has happened, the rectification has been several percent higher.”
“Moreover, we are building multiple advanced shops deep inside the mountains,” he added.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, also played down the incident, saying that a “small explosion” occurred at the Natanz facility, adding that repairs would be done quickly.
“The incident occurred at the electricity distribution center. There was a small explosion, but the damaged sectors can be quickly repaired,” Kamalvandi said, according to Iran’s Tasnim agency on Monday.