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Iran Minister Claims Arrest Of 'Nuclear Spies,' Cyber Preparedness

  • RFE/RL

Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi (file photo)

Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi (file photo)

Iranian state media quote Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi as saying that authorities there have arrested a number of "nuclear spies" and warning that Tehran can counter any cyber attacks.

Iran's English-language Press TV reports that Moslehi suggested "hegemonic powers" were targeting Iran in cyberspace.

Reports in Iran last month claimed that officials from the country's Atomic Energy Organization were scrambling to limit potential damages from a complex computer worm, dubbed Stuxnet, that was capable of disrupting or controlling entire power plants.

The malicious software, or malware, is intended to grant access to computers without the consent of the user. It was also said to have infected industrial sites in other countries, including Indonesia, India, and the United States.

Experts around the world are trying to uncover the rogue program's origins, and it has been referred to by some as the "malware of the century" for its destructive capabilities.

Moslehi did not provide details or identities regarding the recent arrests. It was unclear if they were linked to Iranian investigations into the computer worm.

Reports included speculation that the Stuxnet worm might have been targeting Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is slated to go online later this year.

Many Western governments accuse Tehran of seeking a nuclear bomb-making capability, but officials in Iran have repeatedly rejected that charge.

The United Nations has passed four rounds of sanctions aimed at persuading Iranian officials to halt sensitive nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment.
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