The recent sabotage at Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facility has put the spotlight on the successive security failures of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) but it has given a boost to hard-line narrative with Iran’s ruling establishment.
The setbacks of the IRGC could not be missed by the public despite the Guards’ huge clout and intimidating power at home. Just over a year ago they shot down a Ukrainian commercial airliner, killing 176 people. Their forces failed to stop both an earlier attack at Iran’s Natanz facility and the assassination of a top scientist who had started a military nuclear programme decades earlier. Meanwhile, their floating base in the Red Sea off Yemen was hit by an explosion.
Then on Sunday, the nuclear facility, of which the Revolutionary Guards are the chief protector, experienced a blackout that damaged some of its centrifuges.
Israel is widely believed to have carried out the sabotage that caused the outage, though it has not claimed it.
In the wake of the attack, Iran announced Tuesday it would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, the highest level its programme has ever reached. That was a signal that the Guards and their radical alliances’ defence was going to be an escalation of Iran’s positions in the nuclear issue.
The weekend attack at Natanz was initially described only as a blackout in the electrical grid feeding above-ground workshops and underground enrichment halls — but later Iranian officials began calling it an attack.
Alireza Zakani, the hard-line head of the Iranian parliament’s research centre, referred to “several thousand centrifuges damaged and destroyed” in a state TV interview. However, no other official has offered that figure and no images of the aftermath have been released.
Despite its threatening retaliation rhetoric, Tehran has not offered much of a response besides suspected limited strikes in its shadow naval skirmishes with Israel. None of its moves has had the spectacular impact of the blows which Iran and its guards have themselves received so far.
Read the complete article at: The Arab Weekly
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