TEHRAN/DUBAI: Bomb-carrying drones targeted an Iranian defense factory in the central city of Isfahan overnight, authorities said early Sunday, causing some damage at the plant amid heightened regional and international tensions engulfing the Islamic Republic.
The Iranian Defense Ministry offered no information on who it suspected carried out the attack, which came as a refinery fire separately broke out in the country’s northwest and a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck nearby, killing two people.
However, Iran said it had repelled the attack, the defense ministry said, according to the IRNA news agency.
“An unsuccessful attack was carried out using (drones) ... on one of the workshop complexes of the ministry of defense,” it said, adding that the strike late Saturday night caused only minor damage to the roof of a building but no casualties.
The announcement of the attack comes at a tense time in Iran, which has been rocked by protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in September, tensions over its nuclear program and accusations by some countries that Tehran has been supplying drones to Russia for the war in Ukraine.
The ministry said one of the drones was destroyed by the site’s anti-aircraft defense system, while the other two exploded.
“The attack, which occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, did not cause any disruption to the operation of the complex,” it said.
Details on the Isfahan attack, which happened around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, remained scarce. A Defense Ministry statement described three drones being launched at the facility, with two of them successfully shot down. A third apparently made it through to strike the building, causing “minor damage” to its roof and wounding no one, the ministry said.
Details on the Isfahan attack remained scarce, but the Defense Ministry described three drones being launched at the facility, with two of them successfully shot down. A third apparently made it through to strike the building, causing “minor damage” to its roof and wounding no one, the ministry said.
A video widely shared on social media, the authenticity of which AFP could not verify, shows a loud explosion at the site and images of emergency vehicles then heading toward the area.
The deputy governor of Isfahan province, Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari, also said on television there had been “no casualties,” adding that “the cause of the incident is under investigation.”
The Defense Ministry only called the site a “workshop,” without elaborating on what it made. Isfahan, some 350 kilometers (215 miles) south of Tehran, is home to both a large air base built for its fleet of American-made F-14 fighter jets and its Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Center.
Tehran has been targeted in suspected Israeli drone strikes amid a shadow war with its Mideast rival as its nuclear deal with world powers collapsed.
Iran has several known nuclear research sites in the region, including a uranium conversion plant.
Separately, Iran’s state TV said a fire broke out at an oil refinery in an industrial zone near the northwestern city of Tabriz. It said the cause was not yet known, as it showed footage of firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze.
State TV also said the magnitude-5.9 earthquake killed two people and injured some 580 more in rural areas in West Azerbaijan province, damaging buildings in many villages.
In April 2021, Tehran announced that it had started producing 60 percent enriched uranium at the Natanz site in Isfahan province.
Negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known by its acronym JCPOA, between Iran, the European Union and six major powers, stalled after the United States exited in 2018.
The agreement was aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring atomic weapons, an objective that Iran has always denied pursuing.
In recent years, Iran has accused Israel of carrying out several covert actions on its soil, including an attack, according to Tehran, using a satellite-controlled machine gun, which killed a leading nuclear physicist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in November 2020.
In addition, Tehran has been accused in recent months of supplying drones to Russia for the war in Ukraine, which Iran denies.
(With AFP and AP)