Iranian officials told the New York Times on Wednesday that the attack on a facility belonging to Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency was carried out by a small quadcopter drone.
The official said the attack near Karaj, on the outskirts of Tehran, targeted one of Iran’s main manufacturing centers for the production of the centrifuges used at the country’s two nuclear facilities, Fordow and Natanz.
While no one claimed responsibility for the attack, the centrifuge factory, known as the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company, or TESA, was on a list of targets that Israel presented to the Trump administration early last year, according to officials.
The Israeli government did not comment on the attack.
The drone appeared to have taken off from inside Iran, from a location not far from the site, and hit the structure, the person familiar with the attack said. The person did not know what, if any, damage had resulted.
A senior intelligence official told the Times that the centrifuge production facility was on a list that Israel presented in early 2020 to President Donald Trump and senior administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel, director of the C.I.A., as possible targets for attack.
According to the intelligence official, the campaign against Iran’s nuclear program was carried out with the knowledge and blessing of the Trump administration.
The drone attack on Wednesday has similarities to one carried out against a Hezbollah facility in Beirut in August 2019, which destroyed what Israeli officials described as machinery vital to Hezbollah’s precision-missile production efforts, according to the report.
Just three days before Wednesday’s alleged attack on the AEOI building, Iran reported that it had temporarily shut down the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, without elaborating on the causes of the shutdown.