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Revelations Lay Bare the Syrian and Iranian Nuclear Threat

JINSA Report #: 

April 29, 2011

Finally. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) formally acknowledged that the target destroyed in the Syrian desert in 2007 was a covertly built nuclear reactor. [see JINSA Reports #765,#766, #767] Director General Yukiya Amano publicly accepted U.S. intelligence information that identified it as a nearly completed nuclear reactor that would have been able to produce plutonium for the fissile cores of nuclear warheads. [This is the same Mr. Amano who expressed "concerns" about what Iran might be hiding from the IAEA - a far cry from Mohamed el Baradai's "see no evil" posture.] No one is publicly thanking Israel - of course, Israel didn't take credit - but for those who believe there is a difference between democratic countries with nuclear capability (Britain, France, India, the United States) and dictators with the same capability (China, North Korea, Iran, Syria), Mr. Amano's announcement was welcome.

Welcome also was a report said to be issued by the "Iranian Passive Defense Organization," chaired by General Jalali of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The report, sent to the West by a dissident Iranian journalism group, says the Stuxnet virus discovered last year in Iran's centrifuge system has so thoroughly infected the operating systems at the Bushehr nuclear reactor complex that work on the plant must be halted indefinitely. "The internal directives programmed into the structure of the virus can actually bring the generators and electrical power grid of the country to a sudden halt, creating a 'heart attack' type of work stoppage," the report says.

Journalist (and JINSA Board of Advisors Member) Ken Timmerman reports in Newsmax the Iranian belief that Stuxnet "has automatic updating capabilities in order to track and pirate information," and that it "can destroy system hardware step-by-step." Iranian computer scientists claimed to have defeated the Stuxnet infiltration. But now, apparently, they admit that not only did they not fix it, but General, Jalali said there is another major attack virus infecting Iranian government files; he called it "Stars."

We call it excellent. Someone out there is doing what counts.

But Timmerman goes on in the story to report that Siemens, the German giant that "sold Iran the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) process controllers used to run the Bushehr power plant, the Natanz uranium enrichment plant, and other industrial facilities in Iran... was blindsided by Stuxnet, and began publishing its own research and tools to remove the worm from infected computers last fall."

Jalali said, "Our executive officials should legally follow up the case of Siemens SCADA software, which prepared the ground for the Stuxnet virus... The Siemens company must be held accountable and explain how and why it provided the enemies with the information about the codes of SCADA software and paved the way for a cyber attack against us."

We agree with Jalali that Siemens must be held accountable, but in our view it should be held accountable for giving Iran whatever means it can to remove the worm from infected computers. Siemens does big business in Iran - still. The Wall Street Journal reports that Siemens has started no new projects in Iran, but continues to service existing contracts, including those for nuclear-related systems. "Otherwise we could be accused of breaching contracts and face compensatory damages," said Siemens CEO Peter Löscher.

Instead they are supporting and aiding in the development of a nuclear-capable Iran and making a mockery of "international sanctions."

It was a pretty good week, not a great one.

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