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Iran announced on Sunday a blackout occurred at its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.

Why it matters: The incident occurred as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Driving the news: The spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Behrouz Kamalvandi said the accident occurred in the electricity distribution system of the Natanz enrichment facility.

  • He said the cause of the incident is under investigation but stressed there were no casualties and no pollution was caused by the accident.
  • Israeli media said that it was not an accident and that the power outage could have been caused by a cyber attack.
  • The head of Iran's atomic energy organization Ali Akbar Salehi said the incident in the facility in Natanz "was an act of terrorism." He did not say who was responsible but stressed Iran reserves the right to respond. 
  • Intelligences sources quoted by several Israeli media outlets pointed to Israeli intelligence agency Mossad as being behind the cyber attack.

Go deeper

Apr 9, 2021 - World

U.S. unsure of Iran's "seriousness of purpose" after Vienna nuclear talks

The setting for the talks, in Vienna's Grand Hotel. Photo: EU Delegation in Vienna via Getty

This week's nuclear talks in Vienna "met expectations" but did not assuage U.S. doubts about Iran's willingness to negotiate in good faith over the 2015 nuclear deal, a senior State Department official told reporters on Friday.

The state of play: Iran refused to meet directly with the U.S. but held three days of talks with the nuclear deal's other signatories, while the U.S. — represented in Vienna by Iran envoy Rob Malley — communicated indirectly through envoys, primarily from the European Union.

Apr 10, 2021 - World

Iran says it's testing new advanced nuclear centrifuge

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking in Tehran on April 10. Photo: Iran Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran said Saturday it's testing a new and advanced nuclear centrifuge to more effectively enrich uranium, AP reports.

Why it matters: The announcement by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani comes as Tehran and Washington hold indirect talks in an attempt to bring the U.S. back into the 2015 nuclear deal.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker