© 2024 WUTC
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Iran Says U.S., Allies Launched 'Massive Cyber Attack' Against Nuclear Facilities

An undated screen grab, released by the Kaspersky Lab, showing some of the programming behind Flame.
AFP/Getty Images
An undated screen grab, released by the Kaspersky Lab, showing some of the programming behind Flame.

Iran's intelligence minister says his country has uncovered a "massive cyber attack" he says was launched by the United States, England and Israel to coincide with nuclear negotiations that happened in Moscow.

Press TV, Iran's official, English-language news outlet, reports that Heidar Moslehi said Iran had "taken necessary measures" to protect itself against the attack.

Moslehi added:

"Based on obtained information, the US and the Zionist regime (Israel) along with the MI6 [the British intelligence service] planned an operation to launch a massive cyber attack against Iran's facilities following the meeting between Iran and the P5+1 in Moscow."

On Tuesday, The Washington Post ran a long piece that quoted "Western officials with knowledge of the effort" saying the U.S. and Israel had "jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage aimed at slowing Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon..."

On the record, the CIA, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told the Post they could not comment.

Moslehi did not specify whether the virus discovered by the Iranians was, indeed, Flame.

As we told you in May, Flame was discovered by the antivirus experts at Kapersky Lab. The researchers also said that Flame "shares many characteristics with notorious cyber weapons Duqu and Stuxnet."

Stuxnet was a virus that successfully sabotaged centrifuges Iran was using to enrich uranium. In a June piece, quoting unnamed U.S. officials, The New York Times reported that Stuxnet was the work of the United States. According to the Times, it was a program started under the Bush administration but ordered accelerated by President Obama.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.