Iran Nuclear Plant Hit By Cyber Attack

Iran's nuclear facility at Natanz has been hit by a cyber attack just after it announced its new uranium enrichment equipment. and the Iranian government is blaming on the Israeli spy agency, Mossad. A top nuclear official in Iran announced the attack, which caused a power failure at the Natanz complex south of Tehran on Sunday 11th April. 

Israeli media has recently warned about Iran's nuclear programme and now says the cyber  attack on the nuclear plant was the result of a secret Israeli operation.

Israeli intelligence sources were quoted in Hebrew-language media recently claiming credit for the attack. They said that a cyber attack by Mossad inflicted “severe damage at the heart of Iran’s enrichment programme”.

These events comes after diplomatic efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, which had been abandoned by the Trump administration in 2018. Israel and US allies in the Gulf strongly oppose restoration of the deal in its current form, without also addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional meddling through proxy militias in Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after talks on Monday 12th April with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: “I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel, and Israel will continue to defend itself against Iran’s aggression and terrorism.”

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated new centrifuges at the Natanz site in a ceremony that was broadcast live on national television. Centrifuges are devices needed to produce enriched uranium, which can be used to make reactor fuel as well as nuclear weapons. This nuclear development by Iran represented a breach of the country's undertakings in the 2015 deal, which only permits Iran to produce and store limited quantities of enriched uranium to be used to produce fuel for commercial power plants.

Both sides have already targeted Industrial Control Systems (ICS) which have emerged as a key weakness for countries across the globe. Sabotage was blamed for a fire at the Natanz site which hit a central centrifuge assembly workshopin July 2020. Likewise, an attempt by hackers to disrupt Israel's water distribution infrastructure is attributed to agents of Iran. 

Iran's state TV network read out a statement by the head of the national Atomic Energy Agency which described this most recent  incident as "nuclear terrorism" and calling on the international community and the IAEA to deal with  it, saying " Iran reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators." The IAEA said it was aware of the reports of an incident at Natanz but would not comment.

Since the emergence of the Stuxnet virus a decade ago, attempts to hack and exploit ICS systems have emerged as one of the most dangerous and contested frontlines in cyber warfare around the world, with officials in the Biden administration last week revealing a planned executive order to beef up US defences.

Hamodia:    Arab News:    Malaysiakini:       Guardian:        Times:       BBC

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