Cyber-attack did not affect Iran nuclear programme: official

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A cyber-attack that targeted Iranian nuclear centrifuges producing enriched uranium in November did not affect the country's nuclear programme, an Iranian official said in Moscow on Thursday.

"The viruses could not do anything to the Iranian centrifuges and did not affect the functioning of the Bushehr nuclear power plant either," Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency said at a news conference of its first atomic power plant being built by Russia.

"I don't think there will be problems in that area. The Bushehr nuclear power plant will be operational and there will not be a second Chernobyl," ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said, referring to the Ukrainian nuclear disaster in 1986.

"Nothing can stop enriching uranium in Iran, neither the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, nor sanctions, nor viruses," the ambassador said.

In an interview aired Monday on NBC News, Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili blamed the United States for the cyber-attack on what he insisted is a peaceful programme to develop nuclear energy, not weapons.

His comments came after The New York Times reported at the weekend that US and Israeli intelligence services collaborated to develop the destructive computer worm in a bid to sabotage Iran's efforts to make a nuclear bomb.

In November Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted that several uranium enrichment had suffered problems caused by malware, in an apparent reference to the computer virus Stuxnet, but said they had been resolved.

© 2011 AFP

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