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After Nuclear Site Blackout, Thunder From Iran, and Silence From U.S.

“Talks under pressure have no meaning,” said Abbas Moghtadaie, the deputy chairman of Parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, said in a Clubhouse talk on Monday. “This was a message we conveyed very clearly today.”

The Biden administration is seeking to revive an agreement, scuttled by President Donald J. Trump three years ago, in which Iran accepted limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, opposed the original agreement and has made no secret of his opposition to resurrecting it.

Mr. Zarif, in a statement broadcast by Iranian state television, said that Israel wanted “to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions.”

“But we will take our revenge on the Zionists,” he continued.

His comments highlighted the risk of escalation in a yearslong shadow war between Iran and Israel, one that is taking place in the deserts of Natanz, along the shipping routes of the Persian Gulf and in the leafy suburbs of Tehran, where Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the leader of what American intelligence officials say was Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program, was killed in December by a remote-controlled gun as he drove to his weekend house.

For the Iranians, the attack this weekend was another humiliating indication that its program had been penetrated by spies and saboteurs, who have carried out a series of brazen attacks. While Israel usually stays silent when attacks like this happen, Israeli news outlets, citing intelligence sources, attributed this one to the Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.

An intelligence official who asked not to be identified in order to discuss clandestine operations said an explosive device had been smuggled into the Natanz plant, was detonated remotely, and took out both the primary and backup electrical systems.

The head of the Iranian Parliament’s energy committee, Fereydoun Abbasi, appeared to confirm that account in an interview with state television on Monday.


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