Explosion at Iran’s main nuclear facilities in Natanz was part of controlled test

An explosion at Iran’s main nuclear facilities in Natanz was part of a controlled test, state media reported. The facility had previously been a victim of targeted sabotage attacks.

A major explosion and flash of light in the sky were reported around 8:15pm local time on Saturday in Badroud, 20km from where the enrichment facilities are located.

Early reports speculated a surface-to-air missile defence system targeted a hostile object, most likely a drone.

Nournews, an outlet close to Iran’s security forces, confirmed an air defence missile was fired and exploded in the sky, but said it was part of a rapid reaction test.

State television later confirmed this account, saying the test was part of drills that are regularly carried out under supervision from local air defence authorities. No damages were said to be incurred to the local area as part of the test.

The incident came as Israel has repeatedly threatened Iran with military action, pledging not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.

Iran has maintained that it will never seek a nuclear arsenal, contrary to Israel which has dozens of nuclear weapons. It has also blamed two attacks on the Natanz facility since last year, and another one earlier this year, on a centrifuge workshop in Karaj, on Israel, accusing it of “nuclear terrorism”.