On June 23, 2021, Islamic Republic media reported a “sabotage attack” on one of the buildings of the regime’s Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), west of Tehran, near Karaj, in Kordan neighborhood. They also reported there was no damage or casualties and the “attack was foiled.” Later on, an informed official told MehrNews that the attack was carried out by a quadcopter but it was unsuccessful and “it was shut down.” They even boasted about the “defense systems” protecting AEOI’s buildings and hailed the successful prevention of the “sabotage.”
ILNA reported the Barekat Pharmaceutical Complex was the intended target but after a few hours, it was deleted from their website. Fatemeh Mahdiani, an editor at the news agency, tweeted that a security agency informed them an AEOI building next to the Barekat complex was to be attacked which was thwarted! She also admitted they were not aware an AEOI building was in the area!
The New York Times quoting an official claimed a “small drone” has taken off from inside Iran to carry out the attack which was unsuccessful! At the same time, another source from Khatam al-Anbia Joint Air Defense Base, responsible in defending the site, said the incident was not related to Air Defense System and no drone was used in the attack.
Abulfazl Amoui, a member of National Security Commission at Islamic Consultative Assembly, told Jam-e-Jam daily newspaper that Islamic Republic’s “atomic program” is so progressive and advanced that “enemies are looking at it grudgingly” and that’s why it is always under attack. He confirmed the “quadrocopter attack was unsuccessful” because the regime has improved its Air Defense System against drones and holds one of the “best drone programs in the world.”
Jerusalem Post was the first media outlet to call out the Islamic Republic officials’ lies. The Post reported the secret site was called TESA (TABA), used to manufacture IR-1 centrifuges for Iran’s nuclear program. The site was on the list of targets provided to President Trump by Israeli officials in 2020, according to NYTimes report.
Nine days after the incident, and despite all denials by the Islamic regime, The Intel Lab published satellite imagery of the site and the damage it experienced during the attack. According to the report, the roof of a 40x15m structure was destroyed and signs of fire could be seen.
The report caused backlash for the regime officials. Many social media users demanded answer for the lies told by authorities. However, this is not the first time impacts of attacks on nuclear sites are downplayed or flat out denied! In previous attacks on Natanz enrichment facility in July 2020 and April 2021, Islamic Republic chose to lie to media and its own people to downplay the scope of Israel penetration in sensitive areas of the regime. It took several days and satellite imagery to expose their lies. Most probably, this will not be the last time either.