Former Iran official describes alleged US sabotage of nuke program

News Brief — April 17, 2014

The former head of Iran’s nuclear program has detailed how U.S. intelligence agencies and their allies launched a campaign to thwart his country’s nuclear and scientific development.
Speaking to an Iranian newspaper, Fereydoon Abbasi said the U.S. would prevent companies from sending equipment to Iran — but would then put that kind of equipment on the black market, having ensured it would actually damage Iranian operations.
Abbasi claims that the U.S. would find out from the U.N. nuclear agency, what parts Iran was trying to get and from whom, and plant everything from viruses to explosives on the equipment.
“They would pressure that country or company not to transfer the parts or equipment to Iran, or would allow them to do so [only] after sabotaging [the parts],” he told the Iranian daily Khorasan. “For instance, if it was an electronic system, they would infect it with a virus, or plant explosives in it, or even alter the type of components, in order to paralyze [Iran's] system.”
The interview was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, which published an edited version of the interview.
Being an edited interview it’s difficult to ascertain how representative MEMRI’s version is, and how much has been omitted. For instance, in MEMRI’s version of the interview Abbasi only refers in passing to the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and technicians. Although we know that the assassinations were an integral part of the campaign to thwart Iran’s nuclear program.
However, in MEMRI’s version of the interview Abbasi does expand on how the Stuxnet computer virus was introduced into Iran’s nuclear program.
The computer virus slowed Iran’s nuclear program for months and is thought to have been the creation of US/Israel programmers.
According to Abbasi the virus was covertly introduced into Iran’s nuclear program via scientific and technical equipment imported from the West.
“Companies like Siemens are at the complete mercy of the intelligence and sabotage agencies. The same is true for the Edwards company in England. This virus was also inserted into the spinning [part of the centrifuge] made by this company, as were explosives. On the basis of information that Iran provides [to the IAEA], they know how many centrifuges we intend to install, and what parts we need, and therefore they prevented this equipment [from getting to Iran] – for instance, a hollow pump that was supposed to be purchased from AEG. The company itself is [probably] not at fault – these intelligence agencies carry out the sabotage and then transfer the equipment to Iran via that [company].
“This is why Iran [stopped] providing information [to the IAEA]… [We] would give the DIQ [to the IAEA] but only after the fact.
“When we wanted to move the Arak reactor’s main warehouse, we concealed it, so that [IAEA inspectors] would not notice which workshop [the activity was being conducted in], since they might have carried out assassinations or sabotage there. [So] for several years we concealed warehouse, so that that company could do its work…
“At the time that we wanted to move [the warehouse], we had information that they might attack it with Stinger missiles.
Question: [Attack with Stinger missiles] on Iranian soil?
Abbasi: Aren’t they already bringing bombs and weapons into Iran? A Stinger missile is not that big. Is it larger than a guitar? (laughs). Launching a missile into the reactor’s main warehouse…  would mean destroying the reactor’s safety standards and making it inoperable – because after that the IAEA itself would not approve [its operation].
“Therefore, we must be careful so that the enemy does not find our production workshops and does not notice [any relocation].
Although U.S. officials have not commented on their involvement with the virus, experts says such sabotage operations are obviously happening.

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