An air defense test in Iran triggered a massive explosion near Natanz’s uranium enrichment plant on Saturday amid talks over Iran’s nuclear program. The noise was heard in the Iranian city of Badrud, just 20 kilometers from the nuclear power plant, the official Irna news agency reported.
“The residents of Badrud heard a noise and saw a light showing that an object had just exploded in the sky above the city,” a witness told IRNA. But Iranian army spokesman Gen. Amir Tarikhani told state television there was no cause for concern.
“An hour ago, one of the area’s missile systems was tested to assess readiness on the ground and there’s nothing to worry about,” Tarikhani said.
Israel has repeatedly said it is willing to use all means, including force, to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, and Iran conducts periodic exercises to improve defenses around its nuclear facilities. “To assess the region’s systems, these exercises are conducted in a completely safe environment and in full coordination with the integrated defense network,” said the Army spokesman.
Israel has been pressuring world powers to suspend talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal, which resumed in Vienna on Monday. The United States warned on Saturday that it would not allow Iran to “walk slowly” in negotiations over its nuclear program.