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Encouraging sabotage in Iran can ignite full range escalation, Tehran warns

Tehran’s UN Mission has denounced a Bloomberg article that has praised the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and encouraged sabotage in the country’s infrastructure, warning against “barbaric” measures that can spark a full range escalation.

Alireza Miryousefi, minister and head of media office of Iran’s Mission to the UN, responded to a Bloomberg opinion column written by Eli Lake titled, “Sabotage in Iran Is Preferable to a Deal With Iran”.

In his response published on the American news outlet, Miryousefi said Lake’s column is “one that against all journalistic standards encourages violence, terror and sabotage, and makes a number of factual errors and assumptions.”

He noted that “praising the illegal assassination of nuclear scientists and encouraging sabotage in Iran’s infrastructures amounts to what are inhumane, barbaric acts that promote violence and terrorism. Such measures do nothing less than keeping tensions high, and could ignite a full range escalation.”

Lake’s article argued that recent incidents in Iran, among them the one at Natanz nuclear facility, showed that there were better ways to frustrate what it called the “nuclear ambitions” of the Islamic Republic.

Iran has not officially declared whether the incident at the Natanz complex was an accident or an act of sabotage, but the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said the main cause has been determined and will be announced at an appropriate time.

Some reports suggested Tel Aviv’s alleged role, but Israeli officials neither confirmed nor denied the regime’s involvement.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials have said much of the speculation linking the incident to Israel is nothing but bluster which pleased Israeli leaders, warning Tel Aviv of serious consequences if it turned out to be true. 

The Bloomberg article further claimed that one of the recent incidents in Iran appeared to have targeted “an underground research facility for chemical weapons.”

Iran’s UN Mission spokesman refuted the claim, saying the country has been “the biggest victim of chemical weapons attacks in contemporary history” conducted by the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with “the shameful aid of Western countries”.

“Iran has no program or plans to produce chemical weapons, and the claim made in the opinion piece is not just bizarre, but completely fallacious,” he stressed.

Miryousefi also hailed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a “historic agreement” that was concluded in 2015 after two years of intensive negotiations.

“It was the [US President Donald] Trump administration that unilaterally withdrew from this international accord and violated UN Security Council resolution 2231, which enshrined it in international law. Consequently, the rest of the world has strongly criticized this blatant US retreat from its obligations,” he added.

Lake, born in Philadelphia to a Jewish family, is a columnist for the Bloomberg View. He is known for his controversial articles about security matters. His critics say his past sources lacked credibility, “used to manipulate the discourse on national security”.

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