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Iran Official Says Natanz Explosion Different From Other Recent Incidents

Iran -- Head of Iran's Passive Defense Organization Brig. Gen. Gholamreza Jalali, undated.

The Head of Iran's Passive Defense Organization on Sunday said the incident at Natanz nuclear facilities is different from other recent explosions and fires in Iran none of which according to him is "security-related".

Commenting on the recent wildfires and blazes at several power stations, Brigadier-General Gholamreza Jalali said these incidents belong to the "safety" category, not "security" but the incident in Natanz is different and is currently being investigated by the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). Jalali added that the Passive Defense Organization has submitted its own report on the incident to the SNSC.

Some analysts believe the explosion at the vast Natanz enrichment facility on July 2 will set Iran's nuclear program back by two years. A previously unknown group called "Homeland Panthers" claimed responsibility for the incident in an email sent to foreign-based Iranian journalists.

The Supreme National Security Council on July 3 said that the cause of the explosion had been determined but would not be made public "due to security considerations".

"There's a good and acceptable level of safety in our defense infrastructures but given Trump's war threat, the SNSC should make a decision and respond," Jalali said in reference to U.S. President Donald Trump's alleged authorization of CIA cyberattacks against Iran. "The same kind of threat to attack infrastructures of a country is considered as acts of war by Americans", he added.

A Yahoo News report on 15 July quoted a former U.S. government official as saying that a secret authorization known as a presidential finding signed by President Trump has given the CIA the authority "to really take the fight offensively to a handful of adversarial countries" including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Jalali insisted that other explosions and fires around military, nuclear and industrial facilities and several suspicious wildfires, that many have attributed to planned acts of sabotage, were caused by "flaws in safety measures" and accused the media of spreading unfounded suspicions and "engaging people's minds".

Authorities have blamed most of these mysterious blazes to gas and oil leaks or faulty electrical devices.