Defence systems hit with new 'supervirus'
Published 15/11/2011 | 05:00
Iran says its defence computer systems have been infected with a "supervirus" similar to one believed to have been created by Israel which severely damaged Tehran's nuclear programme last year.
Anti-virus experts have identified a virus called Duqu that they said shared properties with the Stuxnet worm apparently created by Mossad, the Israeli security service. It was thought to have targeted the nuclear programme's centrifuges, the devices that enrich uranium to create nuclear fuel.
It was not clear from the Iranian statement whether Duqu had also struck nuclear facilities, but it was the regime's first admission of damage.
"We are in the initial phase of fighting the Duqu virus," said Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran's civil-defence programme.
Mossad and other Western intelligence agencies have made no comment on sabotage operations against Iran, as Western leaders continue to argue about whether military action would justified.
A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency last week claimed that Iran was developing technology to fit nuclear warheads to missiles.
The British foreign secretary, William Hague, said that Britain was not yet "calling for, or advocating, military action", but added: "At the same time, we are saying that all options are on the table."
The German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said harsh sanctions were unavoidable but he would not consider military intervention.
Even Israel is split, with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Ehud Barak said to be in favour, but a majority against.
Israel has done little to hide its glee at a series of "problems" faced by Iran.
An explosion at a missile base on Saturday killed 17 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. It is similarity to an explosion at a base in October last year, causing speculation that both were the work of Mossad.
"I don't know the extent of the explosion," said Mr Barak, "but it would be desirable if they multiply." (© Daily Telegraph, London)