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Iran: Incident at Natanz Site Amounts to ‘Criminal Nuclear Terrorism’

Kazem Gharibabadi, Ambassador and permanent representative of Iran to the International Organizations in Vienna called on the UN nuclear agency to take action against the perpetrators of a recent attack on the country’s Natanz nuclear site, which he said constitutes an irresponsible criminal act of nuclear terrorism.

H.E. Mr. Rafael Mariano Grossi Director General
International Atomic Energy Agency


I am writing to you upon instructions received from my Government regarding the reckless sabotage at Shahid Ahmadi Roushan Enrichment Center.

On Sunday 11th of April 2021, a terrorist act was carried out against the electricity distribution network of Shahid Ahmadi Roushan Enrichment Center, which caused a blackout and disruption of the operations of this sensitive nuclear facility which is under the IAEA safeguards. Such deliberate targeting of a highly sensitive safeguarded nuclear facility with high risk of potential release of radioactive material constitutes irresponsible criminal nuclear terrorism.

Fortunately, the timely and professional containment measures taken by the dedicated staff of this Center and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) prevented what could have become a human and environmental catastrophe. However, the perpetrators of such a cowardly act must not go unpunished, and anyone directly or indirectly involved in this act should be held accountable as an accomplice to this terrorist act.

Many Israeli and western media outlets tacitly confirmed, and even boasted about, the complicity of Israeli regime in this latest terrorist act. It is not surprising that only one day after this terrorist act, this regime’s Prime Minister referred to this act of terrorism. It should also be noted that on Tuesday 26th of January 2021, Israeli regime’s Defense Forces Chief of Staff threatened that he has “instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to those already in place” and to “develop them over the next year” as such plans “must be o n the table” to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

No. 748222 13 April 2021

Unfortunately, history of the Middle East is full of evidence of such vicious terrorist acts by Israeli regime under unbelievable eyes of the Agency and others wide shut. Israeli regime has twice conducted military strikes against the nuclear facilities of other States, namely Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007. In fact, it is becoming accustomed to it mainly due to the combination of a number of shortcomings: lack of its compliance with its obligations under the relevant International Agreements, lack of proper reaction to such acts on the part of the relevant International Organizations, and deafening silence by the States proclaiming concerns about the safety and security of nuclear installations.

These are proofs beyond any doubt that Israeli regime does not recognize any limits in its inhuman activities and is not duty bound to any international rules and regulations.

These acts are in gross violation of Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations which necessitate an appropriate response from the international community.

Furthermore, the practice of international organizations has shown that such a n act is a clear violation of International Law. In particular, the UN General Assembly in numerous resolutions addressed the issue of a threat to o r a military attack against nuclear facilities. In its resolutions, the UNGA clearly stated that such military attack “constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations”.

On the other hand, the IAEA in several decisions and resolutions approved by the General Conference, stated that it considers an attack against nuclear installations used for peaceful purposes to be contrary to international law.

Accordingly, in accordance with operative paragraph 1 of resolution GC(XXVII)/RES/407 adopted in October 1983 by the General Conference of the IAEA concerning the Protection of Nuclear Installations Devoted to Peaceful Purposes Against Armed Attacks, “… all armed attacks against nuclear installations devoted to peaceful purposes should be explicitly prohibited.”

Also, as a first constructive step towards the prohibition of armed attacks against nuclear installations, the Islamic Republic of Iran initiated the unanimously adopted General Conference resolution’ on the “Prohibition of all armed attacks against nuclear installations devoted to peaceful purposes whether under construction or in operation”, where, in the second operative paragraph, it is stated that “.. any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Statute of the Agency”. This was also.

Serious concerns were also expressed by the Agency’s General Conference in its resolution GC (XXXI)RES/475 of 25 September 1987 in which it stated “Aware of the fact that an armed attack on a nuclear installation could result in radioactive release with grave consequences within and beyond the boundaries of the state which has been attacked'”.

Likewise, the General Conference in its resolution GC(XXXIVYRES/533 of 21 September 1990 recognized that “An armed attack on a safeguarded nuclear facility, in operation or under construction, would create a situation in which the United Nations Security Council would have to act immediately in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter”.

The IAEA General Conference in a Decision adopted on 18 September 2009 considered an agenda item entitled “Prohibition of armed attack or threat of attack against nuclear installations, during operation or under construction”. The General Conference while noting its resolutions 444 and 533, recognized the importance attached to safety, security and physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities and, in that regard, expressed its views on the importance it attached to the protection of nuclear installations.


Iran’s positions over such acts and threats have been well recorded in the history of the Agency and the United Nations. The most recently, H.E. Dr. Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations on 12 April 2021 stressed on the accountability of the perpetrators and accomplices of this cowardly act. Furthermore, in a letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council on 5 February 2021 (S/2021/103), the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in New York also recalled the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security and urged that the Security Council must confront the destabilizing policies and warmongering practices of the Israeli regime and compel it to stop its dangerous designs against the region.

Regrettably, the inaction of the United Nations and the lAEA in dealing with such policies and practices and the impunity with which the said regime has been allowed to carry out its crimes so far, has emboldened it to continue and even increase its blatant defiance of the most basic and fundamental principles of international law and the United Nations Charter.

Israeli regime, with its present non-peaceful nuclear program, remains the sole and major threat preventing the establishment of peace and stability in the sensitive region of the Middle East and indeed the world. In this respect, international pressure should bc brought to bear against Israeli regime and its nuclear threat.


Recalling the long record of Israeli regime in sabotage operations against our peaceful nuclear activities – including the cowardly assassination of several Iranian nuclear and other scientists in the past years, as well as the joint US-Israeli cyber operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities through the use of a malicious computer worm known as Stuxnet the international community must strongly condemn this act of nuclear terrorism and hold the culprits and their accomplices accountable for their acts, which threatens to further destabilize the already tense situation in the Middle East.

Hence, the Islamic Republic of Iran also looks forward to effective preventive measures being taken by the Agency and its peace-seeking Member States against such ruthless remarks and actions. The responsibility for any failure in this respect will lie solely with the Agency and others who indirectly render their support by closing their eyes on these reckless behavior. It is highly imperative that this matter be immediately attended to by the Agency to not only safeguard the nuclear installations against such acts or threats, but also the credibility of the Agency. Undoubtedly, if the peaceful uses of atomic energy are threatened, the confidence of the non-nuclear weapons States on the rule of law at the international level would be severely damaged.

The Islamic Republic of Iran will, under international law, take all necessary measures to protect and defend its citizens, interests and installations against any terrorist or sabotage acts. In view of this, the Islamic Republic of Iran, as before, strongly warns against any adventurism by Israeli regime and will decisively respond to any threat or wrongful act perpetrated by this regime.

The most recent cowardly act of nuclear terrorism will only strengthen our determination to march forward and to replace all the damages centrifuges with even more advanced and sophisticated machines. Even the most insane criminals will finally – and soon – realize that they must never threaten Iranians.

The Agency is hereby expected and requested in accordance to its responsibilities to take immediate and essential measures in this regard.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Kazem Gharibabadi Ambassador and permanent representative of Iran to the International Organizations in Vienna

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