By Jeremy Herb - 09/17/12 03:50 PM EDT
Explosives were used at to cut power lines at Iran’s underground nuclear facility last month in what could be an act of sabotage, Tehran’s atomic energy chief said Monday.
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Chief Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani told a meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member states on Monday that the power lines were cut at the Fordow underground facility on Aug. 17, according to Reuters. He suggested that the IAEA could have a connection to the attack after the United Nations agency asked to inspect the facility the next day.
Abbasi-Davani also suggested Monday that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the IAEA, according to Reuters.
The nuclear chief did not say if power had been restored at the facility, but did say the attack would not slow Iran’s nuclear program.
Abbasi-Davani’s comments come after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Iran could be only six months away from being close to obtaining nuclear weapons capability.
Netanyahu’s comments come as he has publicly pushed the United States to issue firm “red lines” against Iran’s nuclear program. President Obama has said that while all options remain on the table, he wants a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear conflict and more time for sanctions to work.
Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have expressed concern that they will soon run out of time to be able to stop Iran’s nuclear program, because they do not have the same military capability of the United States. The Fordow facility, which is fortified inside a mountain, is one concern.
Abbasi-Davani said Monday that Iranian experts have "devised certain ways through which nuclear facilities remain intact under missile attacks and raids," according to The Associated Press.
Tehran has accused Israel of being behind the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, although Abbasi-Davani did not mention Israel Monday. The Israelis and United States have reportedly been involved in cyber attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities as well.
Abbasi-Davani told the IAEA meeting that cutting the power to nuclear facilities could harm the centrifuges, according to Reuters. The cyber attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities also targeted those centrifuges.
The IAEA says that Iran is preventing its inspectors from accessing a military site suspected of having been used for nuclear testing.
The United States and Israel say Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.