Iran shut down nuclear facilities amid Israel assault: IAEA chief Grossi

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NEW DELHI: Iran has temporarily shut down its nuclear facilities for “security considerations” in the wake of a recent missile and drone attack on Israel over the weekend the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Monday.
The head of the UN’s atomic watchdog, Rafael Grossi, shared this information on the sidelines of a UN Security Council meeting.Concerns were raised about a potential Israeli strike on an Iranian nuclear site in response to the attack.
“We are always concerned about this possibility. What I can tell you is that our inspectors in Iran were informed by the Iranian government that yesterday (Sunday), all the nuclear facilities that we are inspecting every day would remain closed on security considerations,” he said.
The reopening of facilities were to take place on Monday, Grossi stated, as an inspectors will return a day later.
“I decided to not let the inspectors return until we see that the situation is completely calm,” he added, while calling for “extreme restraint”.
Iran launched over 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight from Saturday to Sunday in response to an airstrike on a consular building in Damascus that resulted in the deaths of seven Revolutionary Guards, including two generals.
The majority of the weapons were intercepted by Israel and its allies, causing minimal damage. However, concerns about potential Israeli retaliation have raised fears of a wider regional conflict. Israel has a history of targeting nuclear facilities in the area, such as bombing the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981 and conducting a secret air raid on a Syrian reactor in 2007.
Tehran accuses Israel of assassinating two Iranian nuclear scientists in 2010, along with a kidnapping in the previous year.
Moreover, a cyberattack with the Stuxnet virus in 2010 disrupted Iranian centrifuges for uranium enrichment, attributed to Israel and the United States. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, despite Israeli allegations.
(With inputs from agencies)

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