Mon, Sep 08, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Iran detains suspect in ‘nuclear sabotage’

AP, TEHRAN

Iranian authorities have arrested a Ukrainian national suspected of sabotage at the country’s sole nuclear power plant, an Iranian newspaper reported yesterday.

The report in the Hamshahri daily said the “Ukrainian expert” was affiliated with a Russian contractor that works in the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which went online in 2011 with Russian aid.

The report did not elaborate on the timing or nature of the alleged sabotage. Iran has long accused the US, Israel and European countries of working to sabotage its nuclear program.

International sanctions force Iran to buy Western-made parts for its nuclear program from third parties. Hamshahri suggested such parties are involved in sabotaging parts before they arrive in Iran, without elaborating.

Hamshahri also quoted Atomic Energy Organization of Iran deputy security head Asghar Zarean as saying that the US’ Sandia National Laboratories, a New Mexico-based subsidiary of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, has been involved in manipulating parts that Iran needs for its nuclear facilities.

In 2010, the so-called Stuxnet virus temporarily disrupted the operation of thousands of centrifuges, key components in nuclear fuel production, at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Iran says it and other computer virus attacks are part of a concerted effort by Israel, the US and their allies to undermine its nuclear program through covert operations.

The US and its allies suspect that Iran is covertly seeking the ability to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies such allegations, saying its nuclear program is peaceful, aimed at generating electricity and producing medical isotopes.

Iran and the P5+1 group — the US, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany — are holding talks aimed at reaching a comprehensive agreement by November that would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

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