|Time zone||UTC+3:30 (IRST)|
Natanz (Persian: نطنز, also romanized as Naţanz) is a city in the Central District of Natanz County, Isfahan province, Iran, and serves as both capital of the county and of the district. It is 70 kilometres (43 mi) south-east of Kashan.
At the 2006 National Census, its population was 12,060 in 3,411 households. The following census in 2011 counted 12,281 people in 3,829 households. The latest census in 2016 showed a population of 14,122 people in 4,564 households.
Its bracing climate and locally produced fruit are well known in Iran. Its pear fruits are well known. The Karkas mountain chain (Kuh-e Karkas) (meaning mountain of vultures), at an elevation of 3,899 meters, rises above the town.
Various small shrines dot the area, and it is known as the shrine of Abd as-Samad. The elements in the present complex date from 1304 with subsequent additions and restorations, such as the Khaneqah and Muqarnas vault. The tomb honors the Sufi Sheikh Abd al-Samad, and was built by the Sheikh's disciple, the Ilkhanid vizier Zain al-Din Mastari.
Natanz nuclear facility is part of Iran’s nuclear program. It is located some 33 km NNW from the town () near a major highway, is generally recognized as Iran's central facility for uranium enrichment with over 19,000 gas centrifuges currently operational and nearly half of them being fed with uranium hexafluoride.
Enrichment of uranium at the plant was halted in July 2004 during negotiations with European countries. In 2006, Iran announced that it would resume enrichment. In September 2007, the Iranian government announced that they had installed 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz. In 2010, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was told by the Iranian government that future enrichment programmes would take place at Natanz, and they would start in March 2011.
In January 2013, Fereydoun Abbasi from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said: "five percent uranium enrichment is continuing at Natanz, and we will continue 20 percent enrichment at Fordo and Natanz to meet our needs".
On 28 October 2020, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released satellite images acknowledging that Iran had begun the construction of an underground plant near its nuclear facility at Natanz. In March 2021, Iran restarted enriching uranium at the Natanz facility with a third set of advanced nuclear centrifuges in a series of violations of the 2015 nuclear accord.
Between 2007–2010 Natanz nuclear power plant was hit by a sophisticated cyber attack that has been alleged to have been carried out in an operation called Olympic Games by a coalition of German, French, British, American, Dutch and Israeli intelligence organizations. The attack used a Stuxnet worm which hampered the operation of plant's centrifuges and caused damage to them over time. The alleged goal of the cyber attack was not to destroy the nuclear program of Iran completely but to stall it enough for sanctions and diplomacy to take effect. This alleged goal was achieved, as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear treaty with Iran was reached in July 2015.
Around 2 a.m. local time on 2 July 2020, a fire and explosion hit a centrifuge production plant at a nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz. A group known as the "Cheetahs of the Homeland" claimed responsibility for the attack. Some Iranian officials suggested that the incident may have been caused by cyber sabotage.
On 10 April 2021, Iran began injecting uranium hexaflouride gas into advanced IR-6 and IR- 5 centrifuges at Natanz, but on the next day, an accident occurred in the electricity distribution network. On 11 April, IRNA reported that the incident was due to a power failure and that there were no injuries nor any escape of radioactive material. Further details eventually emerged that it was actually Israel that orchestrated the attack. On 17 April, Iranian state television named 43-year-old Reza Karimi from Kashan as a suspect for the blackout, stating that he had fled the country before the sabotage happened.
Natanz is located 120 km northeast of Isfahan and on the main north-south highway of Iran. Its altitude is 1666 meters above sea level. The distance between Tehran and Natanz is 326 km, and it takes about 4 hours by car.
Natanz saffron is one of the agricultural products of Natanz city, which is compatible with the climate of this region. Natanz saffron is of good quality and most of this product is exported. Because Natanz city has three different types of climate, saffron cultivation in this area has given good results, so that some years it has yielded more than 1600 kg of dry saffron. Currently, the economy of Natanz is in the field of agriculture, people make a living by producing garden products such as pears, beets, walnuts, pomegranates and saffron.
Anti-aircraft guns guarding Natanz nuclear facility
Natanz Stone Fortress
Natanz mosque next to the old Chenar
Ancient tree of Natanz
Portal of Abd al-Samad complex
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- Natanz can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3076691" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
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- The place where Darius III was murdered by his relative, the satrap Bessus, is believed by historians to lie in the region of Ahevanu in Semnan province, much more to the east and north than Natanz.
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