News / Middle East

US, Israeli Computer Program Slows Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility (file photo)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility (file photo)

A published report says a joint U.S.-Israeli project designed to sabotage Iran's nuclear program has apparently shut down a fifth of that country's nuclear centrifuges.

The report in The New York Times quotes unidentified intelligence and military experts as saying the project has helped delay, though not destroy, Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons.

According to the newspaper, the experts from both the United States and Israel have been able over the past two years to develop a destructive computer worm that has attacked computers in Iran.   

The newspaper says Israel first tested the Stuxnet computer worm at its own Dimona nuclear site on uranium enrichment centrifuges nearly identical to those in Iran.  

The report coincides with a two-day tour of Iran's nuclear facilities by a group of international envoys.  Iranian officials say the tour is designed to show the country's nuclear program is peaceful.

But the six nations involved in nuclear talks with Iran are not participating in the rare tour.  Those talks are scheduled to resume in Istanbul on Thursday.

Last week U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "technological problems," along with international sanctions, have made it much more difficult for Iran to pursue its nuclear ambitions.  But she said Iran's nuclear program remains a serious concern.

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