Iran is downplaying a Wednesday attack that targeted a centrifuge production building in a small city outside of Tehran. Iranian officials say the attack was thwarted, while Israeli media is reporting damage was done.
When it comes to covert attacks inside Iran, Israel is the obvious suspect, although Israeli officials rarely take credit. According to The New York Times, the centrifuge facility, which was reportedly targeted by a small quadcopter drone, was on a list of targets Israel presented to the US back in 2020.
An unnamed intelligence official told the Times that in early 2020, Israel proposed attacking the building to former President Trump, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Gina Haspel, who was CIA chief at the time. Killing Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and attacking the Natanz nuclear facility were also on the list of proposed Israeli attacks, which both happened later in the year.
Fakhrizadeh was killed in November 2020. The Natanz facility was sabotaged in the summer of 2020 and again this past April, which coincided with the US and Iran starting indirect negotiations to revive the nuclear deal. The new head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency recently threatened more covert attacks, warning that Iran would “continue feeling Mossad’s might.”
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made comments that were interpreted by Israeli media as him hinting that Mossad was behind the alleged drone attack on Iran’s centrifuge facility. “Our enemies know — not from statements, but from actions — that we are much more determined and much more clever, and that we do not hesitate to act when it is needed,” Bennet said at a graduation ceremony for Israeli Air Force pilots.