Iran’s Difficulties Mounting

In this Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, an Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran.
In this Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, an Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran.

Iranian infrastructure and strategic networks have come under attack in the last few days by a computer virus similar to Stuxnet but “more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated,” and Israeli officials are refusing to discuss what role, if any, they may have had in the operation, an Israeli TV report said Wednesday.

The report came hours after Israel said its Mossad intelligence agency had thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark, and two days after Iran acknowledged that President Hassan Rouhani’s mobile phone had been bugged. It also follows a string of Israeli intelligence coups against Iran, including the extraction from Tehran in January by the Mossad of the contents of a vast archive documenting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the detailing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN in September of other alleged Iranian nuclear and missile assets inside Iran, in Syria and in Lebanon.

“Remember Stuxnet, the virus that penetrated the computers of the Iranian nuclear industry?” the report on Israel’s Hadashot news asked. Iran “has admitted in the past few days that it is again facing a similar attack, from a more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated virus than before, that has hit infrastructure and strategic networks.”

The Iranians, the TV report went on, are “not admitting, of course, how much damage has been caused.”

On Sunday, Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s civil defense agency, said Tehran had neutralized a new version of Stuxnet, Reuters reported. “Recently we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of several parts … and was trying to enter our systems,” Jalali said.

The Stuxnet virus was uncovered some eight years ago, and was widely reported to have been developed together by US and Israeli intelligence. It penetrated Iran’s rogue nuclear program, taking control and sabotaging parts of its enrichment processes by speeding up its centrifuges.

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See Also:

(1) Bags of Cash and a Bomb Plot: Inside a Covert Iranian Operation in Europe

(2) China’s September Iran crude imports fall 34 percent, U.S. shipments doubled: customs

(3) IMF: US sanctions against Iran will cut economic growth by reducing oil exports

(4) Why oil prices are plunging despite U.S. sanctions on Iran’s energy sector

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