Last updated at 10:19 BST, Tuesday, 08 October 2013

People arrested for attempted nuclear site sabotage

Summary

7 October 2013

The Iranian media says at least four people have been arrested for trying to sabotage a nuclear site. No details have been given so far of their nationality or which nuclear site they are alleged to have been trying to damage.

Reporter:

Sebastian Usher

Tehran

A view over the Iranian capital, Tehran.

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Report

This is the latest twist in the saga of Iran's showdown with the West over its nuclear programme, which has received new impetus after signs that Tehran might be softening its stance.

The country's atomic energy chief told a security conference that the alleged saboteurs had been under surveillance for some time. He said they were caught red-handed and are now in the process of being interrogated. He gave no further details.

There've long been rumours that Israel, which sees Iran's potential development of a nuclear weapon as an existential threat, has sent spies into Iran to disrupt its programme, with some even accusing its agents of killing Iranian nuclear scientists. Israel has warned the US and the West not to be fooled by the recent charm offensive by the new, more moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had a historic, icebreaking phone call with President Obama a few days ago.

The Israelis announced their own arrest of an alleged Iranian-born spy in the midst of the new optimism that a genuine resolution of a nuclear standoff could now be on the cards. This latest announcement from Iran shows that underneath the newly hopeful surface, the complex three-dimensional chess game over Iran's nuclear ambitions continues undiminished.

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Vocabulary

saga

long series of related events

impetus

force that gives a particular activity more energy or makes it more effective

stance

clearly stated view about an issue

saboteurs

people who deliberately damage or destroy something

caught red-handed

(arrested) while doing something wrong

existential threat

something that could cause harm to human existence

charm offensive

actions intended to get people to like and trust you so that you can influence them

icebreaking

something you do to get people who don't know each other well to talk and improve relations

on the cards

likely to happen

undiminished

not reduced in importance

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