Iran blast near Natanz nuclear facility 'a controlled test'

Iran blast near Natanz nuclear facility 'a controlled test'
2 min read
05 December, 2021
Local Iranian news has reported an explosion in the sky near the Natanz nuclear facility, with the army claiming it was part of a military exercise.
The Natanz nuclear facility was targeted in April [Getty]

A large explosion was heard in the sky in Iran on Saturday night, over the town of Badroud, close to the Natanz nuclear facility, local residents told state TV.

At first no explanation was given for the aerial blast, but later, a spokesman for the Iranian army claimed that the military was conducting a "controlled test" in the area. 

"Such exercises are carried out in a completely secure environment ... and there is no cause for concern," Iranian Army spokesman Shahin Taqikhani told the local TV.

The local TV report said that air defence units in the Natanz area had launched a missile, to test a rapid reaction force. 

A local news reporter, who witnessed the explosion, described hearing a loud short blast, followed by an intense bright light in the sky. 

The Natanz nuclear facility, 250 kilometres south of Tehran, was previously been targeted by sabotage in April, which caused a power failure at the facility. 

At the time, Israel was widely suspected of being behind the attack, but have never officially claimed responsibility. 

Israel is vehemently against Iranian nuclear ambitions, and has said on a number occasions that it is prepared to use force, to prevent Iran from securing a nuclear weapon. 

Iran is currently also engaged in talks with Western powers in Vienna, which are aimed at restarting the Iran nuclear deal. 

The US unilaterally withdrew from the deal in in 2018. 

So far, talks have been unable to make progress towards a deal, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying on Friday that Iran “does not seem to be serious” about a return to the deal. 

European negotiators gave a similar assessment, and expressed their "disappointment and concern". 

Talks are set to resume next week.