Why has Iran named a suspect in Natanz attack?

Iran however also claims that the Natanz attack has been amplified by false foreign reports. It claims that the attack actually helped it replace old centrifuges.

Iran has named a suspect in the attack on its Natanz nuclear facility. It claims he fled the country even before the attack. Iran’s state television claims the suspect is a 43-year-old man named Reza Karimi. It has even put a passport photograph up, claiming he was born in Kashan, Iran.

Iran, however, also claims that the Natanz attack has been amplified by false foreign reports. It claims that the attack actually helped it replace old centrifuges. So how can the explosion at the site be both “fake” and also have a suspect.
Iran says that a delegation of members of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the parliament went to the Natanz site. Iran seems to admit the power supply to the centrifuges was harmed by a “limited explosion.” It claims there was “no cyber attack.”

Now Iran says that “the perpetrator of this sabotage was identified by the efforts of the Ministry of Intelligence and that the necessary measures to arrest and return him to the country are being implemented.” The Ministry of Intelligence and its agents, sometimes abbreviated MOIS are known as the “unknown soldiers of Imam Zaman” or “anonymous soldiers,” the Ministry is called in Farsi: Vezarat-e Ettela’at va Amniat-e Keshvar.

The city of Kashan is in central Iran about an hour from Natanz. Iran says it is taking actions to bring Karimi back to Iran. In the past Iran has sought to extradite, lure or kidnap dissidents back to the country. Iran claims that Karimi has in the past visited a plethora of countries, such as Qatar, Romania, Turkey, Uganda and even the UAE.

The limited information about the alleged perpetrator, combined with other mixed messages from Tehran, leave much to be desired. For instance Iran says there wasn’t much damage. It claims there was an explosion. However foreign media reports have discussion the extent of the damage and also whether the method of the sabotage might have been planned or planted months or years in advance. Iran’s media doesn’t explain what the alleged perpetrator did or how he did it or whether he acted along.

According to Reuters, Israeli media have quoted unnamed intelligence sources as saying Israel’s Mossad carried out the Natanz sabotage operation.

Reports also indicated Friday that the US was displeased with the amount of discussion about Natanz and the attack. The overall question then is why would Iran name a suspect now and what is the point of naming one person as if one person was responsible.

Iran has in the past claimed the blast was nuclear terrorism and sabotage. Another attack on the same site in July 2020 was slammed by Iran as well.

How can the attack be “terrorism” and also “limited” and have one man responsible for it?

Nothing in Iran’s narrative makes sense and does not appear to be part of the same narrative. It seems like Iran has several narratives, one of which presents the attack as limited, and one which presents it as “terrorism” and one which downplays it by pegging it on one person.

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