Israel may have saved the Biden administration from a humiliating capitulation to Iran with an attack that disabled Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility this weekend.
The sabotage — a cyberattack, or an explosion in a power unit, according to different reports — may delay Iran’s ability to enrich uranium for nine months. That, in turn, will weaken Iran’s ability to demand concessions from a new U.S. administration that has been eager to make them in an effort to entice Iran into talks.
As Breitbart News noted, the attack Sunday came a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the operation of the advanced IR-6 and IR-5 centrifuges to enrich uranium, giving Iran leverage in a new round of international negotiations.
Iran likely hoped to exploit the eagerness of President Joe Biden’s new administration to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Last week, the U.S. administration appeared desperate to claim it was negotiating indirectly with Iran in Vienna, though U.S. envoy Robert Malley was nowhere near the discussions. Iran used the occasion to demand all U.S. sanctions be lifted.
But the Natanz sabotage may have severely eroded that Iranian leverage, preventing a U.S. diplomatic capitulation.
The New York Times reported Sunday that an explosion “completely destroyed the independent — and heavily protected — internal power system that supplies the underground centrifuges that enrich uranium,” and that “the explosion had dealt a severe blow to Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and that it could take at least nine months to restore Natanz’s production.”
The Times noted that it was unclear whether Israel had briefed the Biden administration about the attack, which came just as U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was visiting Israel, the first member of the Biden administration to do so thus far.
While some U.S. officials were reportedly happy about the Natanz attack, realizing it improves the Biden administration’s leverage, it may also have been a signal from Israel to the new president, urging him to abandon a course of appeasement.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.