US officials believe the drone attacks on a military plant in the central Iranian city of Isfahan were carried out by Israel, according to US media reports.
Tehran said on Sunday that drones had attacked the Isfahan plant late the previous evening, calling the operation “unsuccessful”.
The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported that Israel was behind the attacks, citing US officials and people familiar with the operation. The New York Times cited senior intelligence officials who were familiar with the dialogue between Israel and the United States about the incident. None of the officials were named.
CNN has not independently confirmed this information. A spokesman for the US Department of Defense told CNN that the US has not carried out strikes or operations in Iran.
“We have seen the press reports, but we can confirm that no US military forces have carried out strikes or operations in Iran. We are continuing to monitor the situation but have nothing further to provide,” the spokesperson said.
Iran’s defense ministry has not publicly released any information about who carried out the attack. The Israel Defense Forces declined to comment.
“An explosion has occurred in one of the military centers linked to the Ministry of Defense,” said the deputy security chief of Isfahan province, Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari. earlier said the semi-official Fars News agency.
Jan-Nessari said the explosion left some damage “but fortunately there were no casualties.”
State news agency IRNA later said the explosion was caused by “small drones”.
“There was a failed attack by small drones against an industrial complex of the Ministry of Defense and fortunately with forecasts and air defense measures already in place, one of them (shot down),” IRNA said in a post on Twitter, citing the country’s defense ministry.
“The complex’s air defense system was able to destroy two other drones. Fortunately, no one was killed in this botched attack and minor damage was done to the roof of the complex.
The ministry said the attack took place at 10:30 p.m. local time on Saturday. The plant is about 440 kilometers (270 miles) south of Tehran.
Several explosions and suspicious fires have erupted around Iranian military and nuclear facilities in the past few years.
In July 2020, a fire tore through Iran’s Natanz nuclear complex, a facility key to the country’s uranium enrichment program, in Isfahan province, south of the capital Tehran. Iranian authorities have decided not to make public findings about the cause of the fire due to security concerns, according to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
The following year, a blackout occurred in Natanz on the anniversary of the National Nuclear Day, with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) calling it a “terrorist act”. Israel’s army chief appeared to hint at possible Israeli involvement in the incident.
In October 2019, an oil tanker belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was hit and damaged by two missiles. A spokesman for the National Iranian Tanker Company initially suggested it might have been fired from Saudi soil, but this was later dismissed and the Iranian government did not provide an alternative conclusion.
Earlier that year, an explosives-laden truck detonated and rammed a bus carrying members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, killing at least 23 and wounding 17. A separatist group called Jaish al-Adl, or the Justice Army claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.