Iran’s Foreign Ministry is preparing to take legal action against the United States over the Stuxnet computer virus, charging that Washington was behind the sabotage of its nuclear program.
Regime sources Sunday told the media outlet Irannuc.ir, which often quotes regime insiders on the Iranian nuclear program, that the Foreign Ministry has concluded there is sufficient evidence to take legal action against the U.S.
The computer worm attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2010, causing many centrifuges to spin out of control and ultimately require replacement. It also caused havoc in the Bushehr nuclear power plant, and despite regime denials that the facility had been infected, it was shut down several times, with many delays in restarting. Stuxnet and other malware have attacked other regime infrastructure, including Iran’s oil industry.
The U.S. participation in the creation of Stuxnet was documented in a report in Der Spiegel, which interviewed whistleblower Edward Snowden through encrypted questions sent by security software developer Jacob Appelbaum.
In response, Snowden said the U.S. National Security Agency and Israel “co-wrote” the virus that created havoc for Iran.
“The time for legal action has arrived,” a source told Irannuc.ir. “The American government is condemned both based on international standards and based on two documents of its government, meaning the Pentagon’s strategic document on cyber space and also America’s national strategic document on cyber space.”
The unnamed source, a diplomat, told the outlet that the Foreign Ministry is gathering documents for the legal case, which will be submitted to international organizations.
“Statements by American officials will have an important role in these documents,” he said. “Plus, Iran feels that it can unite a strong front on the world stage on this case because other countries also face this danger.”
The source predicted that President-elect Hassan Rohani will pursue the effort as one of the new government’s main projects and that Iran will calculate the damages caused by the virus and request payment from the U.S. government.
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Irannuc.ir said President Obama himself confessed to sabotage by stating – in response to a New York Times story that Stuxnet was a joint U.S., Israeli and German project – that he will not tolerate disclosure of sensitive information. The outlet said that last week the Washington Post and CBS News reported that Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the source for the leak on Stuxnet to the Times and is being investigated by the Justice Department.
Irannuc.ir said Richard Clark, the former national coordinator for security and counter-terrorism, in an interview last week clearly stated that Stuxnet was a U.S.-sponsored project.
The outlet’s source said Iran from now on will consider any cyber attack as an act of war and will respond accordingly.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials say Iran is behind a new wave of destructive cyber attacks on American corporations and energy firms, according to the New York Times – a wave that WND reported nearly two years ago.
The May 24 Times article said the targets included American oil, gas and electric companies, and the goal is finding ways to seize control of critical processing systems.
The Department of Homeland Security warned last month about the cyber attacks, and one government official told the Times, “Most everything we have seen is coming from the Middle East.”
Government officials and other experts, according to the report, confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal that the source of the attacks had been narrowed down to Iran.
However, the U.S. had been warned of cyber attacks by Iran. A WND exclusive in August 2011 reported Iran had been planning to retaliate against the U.S. for its efforts to stop the Islamic regime’s nuclear program.
A July 29, 2011, editorial in the Kayhan newspaper, the mouthpiece of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that the U.S. has all of its infrastructure connected to the Internet and as a result “it is constantly worried about an unknown player whom they will never be able to identify … sitting in some corner of the world who would launch an attack on a sector of (America’s) foundations. They will be taught the mother of all lessons.”
The warning was reported in WND’s story.
America’s vulnerability to a cyber attack was discussed in a meeting among Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commanders and Iranian scientists, according to a source in the Revolutionary Guard, as reported in April 2011. They concluded that the U.S. power grids represent the best opportunity for such attacks, as more U.S. utilities are moving their control systems to the Internet and using smart-grid technology.
The head of Iranian cyber warfare within Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Gholam Reza Jalali, officially had blamed the U.S. and Israel for Stuxnet. Guard officials have repeatedly warned of retaliation – both for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists inside Iran, which they called acts of espionage, and for Stuxnet.
Iran’s cyber warfare unit is now actively recruiting hackers from around the world for what it promotes as the goals of the Islamic Republic.
Amid acts of sabotage crippling U.N., U.S. and EU sanctions, Iran, nevertheless, is getting help from North Korea and China as it continues to work toward arming its missiles with nuclear bombs.