March 20, 2023

Iran claimed to have repelled an attack carried out by drones on a military site located in Isfahan (center) overnight from Saturday to Sunday, according to the Ministry of Defense quoted by IRNA (the News Agency of the Islamic Republic).

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“An attack, which failed, was carried out using drones on one of the Defense Ministry’s equipment complexes,” the latter explained, adding that it did not cause casualties, but only “minor damage to the roof” of a building, according to the 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 file and accusations by certain countries which suspect Tehran of supplying drones the Russian army in its war in Ukraine.

The ministry said one of the drones was destroyed by the site’s air defense system, while the other two exploded.

“The attack, which occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, did not cause any disruption to the operation of the complex,” the ministry said.

A video widely circulated on social networks, the authenticity of which AFP could not verify, shows a loud explosion at the site and images of emergency vehicles then heading towards the area.

Isfahan provincial deputy governor Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari also said on TV that the attack caused ‘no casualties’, adding that an investigation has been opened to define the causes. .

Nuclear sites

The authorities did not give details on the activity of the targeted site, located in the north of the big city of Isfahan.

Iran has several known nuclear research sites in this 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 2015 nuclear deal — known by its acronym JCPOA, between Iran, the European Union and six major powers — stalled after the United States exited in 2018. The agreement was aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring atomic weapons, an objective that Iran has always denied pursuing.

The nuclear program has been the target of several campaigns of cyberattacks, sabotage and targeted assassinations targeting scientists.

Iran has thus accused Israel of having carried out several secret actions on its soil, including an attack perpetrated, according to Tehran, by means of a machine gun controlled by satellite, having killed a leading nuclear physicist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in November 2020.

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