Sun. May 19th, 2024

Iran temporarily shuttered its nuclear facilities citing “security considerations” following its significant missile and drone assault on Israel over the weekend, revealed Rafael Grossi, head of the UN’s atomic watchdog, on Monday.

Addressing reporters during a UN Security Council session, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Grossi fielded questions about potential Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear installations in retaliation for the attack.

“We are always concerned about this possibility. What I can tell you is that our inspectors in Iran were informed by the Iranian government that yesterday (Sunday), all the nuclear facilities that we are inspecting every day would remain closed on security considerations,” he explained. Grossi confirmed that the facilities were slated to resume operations on Monday, with inspectors scheduled to return the following day.

“I decided not to allow the inspectors to return until we observe that the situation has completely stabilized,” he stated, urging “extreme restraint.” Over the course of Saturday night into Sunday, Iran launched over 300 drones and missiles towards Israel in response to an airstrike on a consular building in Damascus, resulting in the deaths of seven Revolutionary Guards, including two generals. While the majority of the weapons were intercepted by Israel and its allies, causing minimal damage, concerns about potential Israeli retaliation have raised apprehensions about a broader regional conflict.

Israel has a history of targeting nuclear facilities in the region. In 1981, it conducted a bombing raid on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, defying opposition from Washington. Additionally, in 2018, Israel acknowledged a clandestine airstrike against a reactor in Syria carried out 11 years earlier. Iran accuses Israel of assassinating two of its nuclear scientists in 2010 and abducting another the year before.

In the same year, a sophisticated cyberattack utilizing the Stuxnet virus, attributed by Tehran to Israel and the United States, caused disruptions in Iranian centrifuges employed for uranium enrichment.

While Israel alleges Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Tehran vehemently denies these claims.

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