Iran said on Sunday that it had repelled an attack carried out overnight by drones on a military site, in the context of tensions linked to the nuclear file and the war in Ukraine. The authorities remained very discreet on Sunday at midday after announcing that they had opened an investigation into the causes of this unclaimed attack.
During the night, the Ministry of Defense announced the failure of an attack carried out “using micro-drones on one of the complexes” of the ministry in Isfahan, a large city in the center. This attack, which occurred around 11:30 p.m. (8:00 p.m. GMT) on Saturday, caused no casualties but only “minor damage to the roof” of a building and “did not cause any disruption in the operation of the complex,” the ministry said.
A target ammunition manufacturing plant
Three drones targeted “an ammunition manufacturing plant” in the north of the city, then specified the Irna agency. The announcement of this attack comes in a tense context against the backdrop of a protest movement in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini in September, persistent differences on the nuclear issue and accusations by some countries of supplies by Tehran of drones to the Russian army for the war in Ukraine.
The Iranian ministry said that one of the drones was destroyed by the air defense system of the target site, while the other two exploded. Video widely circulated on social media unable to verify authenticity shows a large explosion at the site and footage of rescue vehicles then heading towards the area.
Uranium at the heart of the debates
In statements to the Mehr agency, parliamentarian Mohammad-Hassan Assafari accused the “opponents and enemies” of the Islamic Republic, who seek to “disrupt the defensive capacities” of the country by this attack. Iran has several known nuclear research sites in the Isfahan region, including a uranium conversion plant.
In April 2022, Tehran announced that it had started producing 60% enriched uranium at the Natanz site, approaching the 90% needed to make an atomic bomb.
Negotiations to revive the international Iranian nuclear agreement, known by its English acronym JCPOA and concluded in 2015 between Iran on the one hand, the European Union and six major powers on the other, have stalled after the unilateral exit of the United States in 2018. This agreement aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring atomic weapons, an objective that Iran has always denied pursuing. Iran’s nuclear program has been the target of several campaigns of cyberattacks, sabotage and targeted assassinations of scientists.
Israel under attack
Iran has thus accused Israel of having carried out several secret actions on its soil, including an attack, perpetrated according to Tehran using a satellite-controlled machine gun, which killed a leading nuclear physicist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in November 2020. Without a link being made with the attack, a fire broke out on Saturday evening at a motor oil production plant in the northwest of the country, the Irna agency reported.
This fire, spectacular according to the images broadcast by the media, occurred in an important industrial center linked to the Ministry of Industry. The fire was brought under control by firefighters, and authorities are investigating its causes, Irna said.