View Full Version : setback for Iran's nuclear program
11-22-2010, 05:58 PM
Iran's nuclear program has suffered a recent setback, with major technical problems forcing the temporary shutdown of thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium, diplomats told The Associated Press on Monday.
The diplomats said they had no specifics on the nature of the problem that in recent months led Iranian experts to briefly power down the machines they use for enrichment â€” a nuclear technology that has both civilian and military uses.
But suspicions focused on the Stuxnet worm, the computer virus thought to be aimed at Iran's nuclear program, which experts last week identified as being calibrated to destroy centrifuges by sending them spinning out of control...
11-29-2010, 09:23 AM
Another setback for Iran's nuclear program.
Assailants on motorcycles attached bombs to the cars of two nuclear scientists as they were driving to work in Tehran Monday, killing one and wounding the other, state media and officials said.
Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the man killed was involved in a major project at the country's chief nuclear agency, though he did not give specifics. Some Iranian media reported that the wounded scientist was a laser expert at Iran's Defense Ministry and one of the country's few top specialists in nuclear isotope separation.
State TV swiftly blamed Israel for the attacks. At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years in what Iran has alleged is part of a covert attempt by the West to damage its controversial nuclear program. One of those two was killed in an attack similar to those on Monday.
11-29-2010, 11:56 AM
I guess they need better bodyguards or something. If only there were a Revolutionary Guards Council or something like that. Well rest assured the Police Chief of Dubai already has the pictures and names for the 437 Mossad agents used in the attacks as well as the 2,315 illegal passports used for cover.
11-30-2010, 07:27 AM
An article on Fox News indicates that even now, Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions (http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/11/26/secret-agent-crippled-irans-nuclear-ambitions/). People are still marveling over the complexity of the computer virus Stuxnet, and the article goes into some detail on what Stuxnet was programmed to do in order to devoid detection.
The one thing that continues to remain a mystery is who is behind it:
Speculation on the wormâ€™s origin initially focused on hackers or even companies trying to disrupt competitors. But as engineers tore apart the virus they learned not only the depth of the code, its complex targeting mechanism, (despite infecting more than 100,000 computers it has only done damage at Natanz,) the enormous amount of work that went into itâ€”Microsoft estimated that it consumed 10,000 man days of labor-- and about what the worm knew, the clues narrowed the number of players that have the capabilities to create it to a handful.
â€œThis is what nation-states build, if their only other option would be to go to war,â€ Joseph Wouk, an Israeli security expert wrote.
Byers is more certain. â€œIt is a military weapon,â€ he said.
And much of what the worm â€œknewâ€ could only have come from a consortium of Western intelligence agencies, experts who have examined the code now believe.Of course, one country had both the greatest motive as well the greatest ability to put together such a virus--so naturally, it is a prime suspect:
Originally, all eyes turned toward Israelâ€™s intelligence agencies. Engineers examining the worm found â€œcluesâ€ that hinted at Israelâ€™s involvement. In one case they found the word â€œMyrtusâ€ embedded in the code and argued that it was a reference to Esther, the biblical figure who saved the ancient Jewish state from the Persians. But computer experts say "Myrtus" is more likely a common reference to â€œMy RTUS,â€ or remote terminal units.Actually, the alternative is more interesting--unless you happen to be Iran:
Langer argues that no single Western intelligence agency had the skills to pull this off alone. The most likely answer, he says, is that a consortium of intelligence agencies worked together to build the cyber bomb. And he says the most likely confederates are the United States, because it has the technical skills to make the virus, Germany, because reverse-engineering Siemenâ€™s product would have taken years without it, and Russia, because of its familiarity with both the Iranian nuclear plant and Siemenâ€™s systems.The possibility that Iran's benefactor Russia could be one of those behind Stuxnet cannot make Iran happy.
11-30-2010, 07:29 AM
Wouldn't be the first time. Is is possible that Iran blew up their own scientists for failing at their job and allowing the STUXNET to wreak havoc? Could be - totalitarian dictatorships do that sort of thing.
Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air about another attempt to delay Iran's acquisition of nuclear power--killing their scientists (http://hotair.com/archives/2010/11/29/iranian-nuclear-scientists-targeted-in-bomb-attacks-one-dead/):
Fresh off the revelation that Iranâ€™s Sunni neighbors urged the US to attack Iran and decapitate its regime, two bombs targeting scientists in Iranâ€™s nuclear program killed one and wounded another (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1334001/Iranian-nuclear-scientist-killed-wounded-separate-bomb-attacks.html) today in separate but apparently linked blasts. These attacks follow earlier apparent assassinations that killed two other researchers in their nuclear program. The Iranians, however, have chosen not to blame its neighbors but instead put the blame on IsraelJust 24 hours ago, Israel would have been the logical choice.
Of course, in the aftermath of the Wikileaks revelations, it has now been confirmed that the Arab world in general is anxious about Iran's plans. If anything, considering how little impact the murder of the scientist is likely to have on Iran's program, it is more likely that one of Iran's neighbors is behind the bombing.
Morrissey has a favorite scenario for the solving of this mystery:
In fact, this might be an Agatha Christie whodunit. Iâ€™d love to think that the climax would be similar to Murder on the Orient Express, but I suspect that the actual plotters arenâ€™t sharing information or control of the plot.Considering the Wikileaks revelations, that would not be so far-fetched.
The question is what the longer term effects of this batch of leaked documents will have on the Middle East in terms of policy.
As Morrissey points out, it is unlikely that the US was behind the blast, but that doesn't mean that the US cannot turn around and become more assertive in the options it chooses against Iran.
Unfortunately, given the path the Obama administration has staked out for itself, that possibility is more far-fetched than an Agathie Chrisite story.
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