Iranian military factory hit by drone attack

  • Drone targets factory near Isfahan, no casualties – TV
  • Iran: ‘Cowardly’ attack won’t slow down nuclear activity
  • Say two drones fell into defense traps and exploded
  • Fire hits motor oil factory in northwest Iran

DUBAI, Jan 29 (Reuters) – A huge overnight explosion rocked a military factory near the central Iranian city of Isfahan in what Tehran said on Sunday was a drone strike by unidentified attackers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which came amid tensions with the West over Tehran’s nuclear activities and supply of weapons for Russia’s war in Ukraine and months of anti-government demonstrations at home.

Iran’s foreign minister said the “cowardly” attack was aimed at creating a “sense of insecurity” in Iran. The Ministry of Defense said the explosion caused only minor damage and no casualties. The extent of the damage could not be independently confirmed.

“Such actions will not affect the determination of our experts to make progress in peaceful nuclear work,” Hussein Amirabudorashian told reporters in a televised address.

Iranian media video showed flashes of light at the factory, which the official news agency IRNA described as an ammunition factory. The footage also showed emergency vehicles and fire engines outside the building.

“At around 23:30 (2000 GMT) on Saturday evening, an unsuccessful attack was carried out using a micro air vehicle (MAV) at a MoD workshop site,” the ministry said in a statement released on state television. said the statement.

It said one drone was shot down and “the other two were caught in a defensive trap and blown up. It caused only minor damage to the roof of the workshop building. There were no casualties.”

The attack “did not affect our facilities and missions … such blind measures will not affect the country’s continued progress,” the statement said.

Separately, IRNA reported earlier Sunday that a fire had broken out at an engine oil factory in an industrial area near the northwestern city of Tabriz. It did not provide information on the cause of the fire.

Past Explosions, Fires

The Islamic Republic has in the past accused arch-enemy Israel of planning attacks using agents inside Iran. In July, Tehran said it had captured a sabotage team of Kurdish militants working for Israel planning to blow up a “sensitive” defense industrial center in Isfahan.

An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment when asked if Israel had any involvement in the recent events. Israel has long said it may attack Iran if diplomacy fails to curb Tehran’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs, but its policy is not to comment on specific incidents.

In Ukraine, Ukraine has accused Iran of supplying Russia with hundreds of drones to strike civilian targets in Ukrainian cities far from front lines, an incident that a top aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has linked to The war there is directly linked.

“The logic of war is ruthless and murderous. It strictly charges authors and accomplices,” Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. “Night of bombs in Iran – drone and missile production, oil refineries. You were warned.”

Several Iranian nuclear facilities are located in Isfahan province, including Natanz, the heart of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which Tehran accuses Israel of sabotaging in 2021. In recent years, there have been multiple explosions and fires around Iranian military, nuclear and industrial facilities.

Negotiations between Iran and world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled since September. Under the deal, which Washington abandoned in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, Tehran agreed to limit nuclear work in exchange for easing sanctions.

Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but said they were sent before Moscow invaded Ukraine last year. Moscow denies its forces use Iranian drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.

Iran’s clerical rulers have also faced internal turmoil in recent months after the death in custody of a woman detained for allegedly violating its strict Islamic dress code sparked a crackdown on widespread anti-establishment demonstrations.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom, Writing by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Daniel Wallis, Cynthia Osterman, Josie Kao, Peter Graff and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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