Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Iran's uranium enrichment programme hit by computer virus

Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said that the country's uranium enrichment programme has been sabotaged by its enemies. It is believed that the programme has been infiltrated by the Stuxnet computer virus, which attacked Iran's computers in September and was said to have had little to no effect on the technology.

Last week, the UN said that Iran has temporarily suspended its uranium enrichment programme at the Natanz nuclear plant, due to unspecified problems. The West fears that Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at building nuclear weapons, while Iran continues to insist that the programme is designed for peaceful energy use.

"They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts. Our specialists stopped that and they will not be able to do it again," said Ahmadinejad during a news conference.

Analysts say that the computer virus has been specially configured to damage motors commonly used in uranium enrichment centrifuges by sending them spinning out of control. The complexity of the virus code suggests it was created by a "nation state" in the West, rather than an organised crime group.

Ahmadinejad and a number of his senior officials say the virus is proof that an “electronic war” has been launched against the Islamic republic by Israel and the West.

Source: BBC News

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

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