Radio Free Europe

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Iran Says Air-Defense 'Test' Behind Blast Over Nuclear City Of Natanz.

Iranian state television has said the country's military fired a missile to test air defenses over Natanz, a city that houses nuclear sites.

The announcement came after unconfirmed local reports on December 4 of a blast in the sky above the city, in central Iran, about 200 kilometers from the capital, Tehran.

"Iran's air-defense units fire missile to test [the] rapid-reaction force over Natanz city," read a bulletin on Press-TV, Iran's English-language international broadcaster.

Natanz hosts an underground center for centrifuges that enrich uranium, which is at the center of Western allegations of secret military nuclear activities.

"Local sources have reported hearing a large explosion in the Natanz sky," the ISNA news agency said earlier on December 4. "No official source has yet confirmed or denied the report."

The semiofficial Fars news agency quoted a reporter in a nearby city as saying an intense light had been seen and a blast rang out.

"No exact details are available about this," Fars quoted a local governor as saying, according to Reuters.

Later, Press-TV published a breaking story that said simply that "Iran’s air defense force" had confirmed the "test."

Iran blamed Israel for what it called an attack on Natanz when a power cutoff caused a blackout at the facility in April.

Multiple incidents at Iranian nuclear and scientific facilities and assassinations of leading nuclear scientists have been blamed by Iranian officials on Israel or the West.

A seventh round of international talks in Vienna aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers including the United States ended on December 3 with talk of new setbacks.

Based on reporting by Reuters

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