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Iran says several arrested in nuclear facility sabotage plot

TEHRAN, IRAN (AP) – Iranian state television reported on Monday that the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard arrested members of a “network” working for Israel that planned to sabotage Iran’s major underground nuclear facility at Fordo.

The TV claimed that the “Zionist regime” – a Tehran reference meaning Israel – has for years been trying to hit Fordo, a top nuclear facility in the country, but without success. The report did not say how many suspects were arrested, what their nationalities were or when and where the arrests supposedly took place. There was no immediate comment from Israel.

Iran has recently stopped the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from accessing its surveillance camera footage and has resumed enrichment of uranium at Fordo as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers fell apart and talks of returning to the deal paused. Iran however, has said it would keep the surveillance footage and hand it over to the IAEA if and when it’s granted sanctions relief.

The TV report said that those arrested approached employees at Fordo’s IR-6 section, where it is believed that centrifuges for spinning uranium are developed, paying them in cash or cryptocurrency, and instructing them how to connect with an Israeli agent, who was acting as a manager of a company based in Hong Kong.

Once “cooperation” between an unspecified number of Fordo staffers and the agents began, the entire communication was monitored by the Revolutionary Guard, which provides security at Iran’s nuclear facilities.

A truck carrying uranium hexafluoride gas leaves the Ahmadi Roshan uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran to the centrifuges at the Fordo nuclear facility. PHOTO: AP