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Iran admits cyberattack hit nuke programme

Imadinnerjacket's centrifuges unspun

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The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today seemed to confirm speculation that the Stuxnet worm obstructed his regime's nuclear ambitions.

"Several" uranium enrichment centrifuges were damaged by the virus, he told a press conference.

"They were able to create problems on a limited basis for some of our centrifuges by software installed in electronic equipment," Ahmadinejad said.

Security analysts have speculated for months that Stuxnet is a digital weapon aimed at Iran's nuclear facilities at Bushehr and Natanz.

Reverse engineering of the worm has revealed it is able to infect the Siemens industrial control systems used at the plants. It then makes subtle, damaging changes to frequency converter drives that operate in a frequency range used in uranium enrichment.

"Our specialists stopped that and they will not be able to do it again," Ahmadinejad said.

Speculation as to the source of Stuxnet has centred on Israel, which is known to have advanced cyber attack capabilities.

Ahmadinejad also dismissed Wikileaks' disclosures about Iran's relations with its Arab neighbours. He claimed the US had deliberately leaked the cables, which show the king of Saudi Arabia calling for military action against his regime, adding "we don't give any value to these documents".

Separately, Iran also blamed Israel and the West for two explosions today targeting its nuclear scientists. One was killed and one injured in simultaneous operations. Assassins on motorbikes had reportedly attached bombs to the scientists' moving cars and detonated them from a distance. ®

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