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Iranian military factory hit by drone attack

DUBAI: An unidentified group used a drone to attack a military factory near the city of Isfahan in central Iran overnight, Tehran said on Sunday. The explosion was loud.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which happened during a time of tension with the West over Tehran’s nuclear activities and supply of arms for Russia’s war in Ukraine, as well as months of protests against the government at home.

The foreign minister of Iran said that the “cowardly” attack was done to make Iran feel “unsafe.” The Defense Ministry said that the explosion did not kill anyone and only caused minor damage. No one could confirm for sure how bad the damage was.

Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters on TV: “Such actions won’t make our experts less determined to move forward with our peaceful nuclear work.”

Iranian media showed a flash of light at the plant, which IRNA, the country’s official news agency, said was a factory for making weapons. On the outside of the complex, the video also showed ambulances and fire trucks.

“At about 23:30 on Saturday night, Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) were used to try to attack one of the ministry’s workshop sites, but the attack failed,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement that was shown on state TV.

One drone was shot down, it said “The other two were caught in defence traps that went off and killed them. It didn’t do much damage to the roof of a building that was used as a workshop. There were no people hurt.”

The attack “has not affected our installations and mission,” the statement said, and such “blind measures” will not stop the country from making progress.

IRNA also said early Sunday that there was a huge fire at a motor oil factory in an industrial area near the city of Tabriz in the northwestern part of the country. It didn’t say anything about what caused that fire.

Past explosions, fires
In the past, the republic has said that its biggest enemy, Israel, was planning attacks using agents inside Iran. In July, Tehran said it had caught a group of Kurdish militants working for Israel who were planning to blow up a “sensitive” defence industry centre in Isfahan. The group was made up of saboteurs, or people who try to cause trouble.

When asked if Israel had anything to do with the latest incident, an Israeli military spokesperson refused to say anything. Israel has said for a long time that it could attack Iran if diplomatic efforts fail to stop Tehran’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes, but it does not comment on specific events.

Ukraine says that Iran gave Russia hundreds of drones that were used to attack civilian targets in cities far from the front. A top aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that this was directly related to the war in Ukraine.

“War logic is cruel and can’t be stopped. It makes the authors and those who helped them pay, “Mykhailo Podolyak sent out a tweet. “Explosive night in Iran, where they make drones and missiles and refine oil. Did warn you.”

Isfahan province is home to a number of Iranian nuclear sites, including Natanz, the most important part of Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, which Iran says was sabotaged by Israel in 2021. In the past few years, there have been a lot of explosions and fires near Iranian military, nuclear, and industrial sites.

Since September, talks between Iran and the world powers to bring back a 2015 nuclear deal have been stuck. Under the pact, which was dropped by the U.S. in 2018 when Donald Trump was president, Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear work in exchange for fewer sanctions.

Iran has said that it did send drones to Russia, but that it did so before Russia invaded Ukraine last year. Moscow says that its troops don’t use Iranian drones in Ukraine, even though a lot of them have been shot down and found there.

In recent months, Iran’s clerical rulers have also had to deal with trouble at home. This was caused by the death in custody of a woman who was being held for allegedly breaking Iran’s strict dress code.