The Shadow War Against Iran’s Nuclear Program

1. Haaretz – Explosions, deadly computer viruses and other sorts of ‘accidents’ – someone is targeting Iran’s nuclear project: either the Western intelligence agencies, internal opposition groups, or both.

In June 2010, the computer system operating the uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz had been infected with the Stuxnet worm (computer virus)

Nextbigfuture – Sean McGurk, the Homeland Security Department’s acting director of national cyber security and communications integration, says Stuxnet is a “game changer.” (a weaponized computer virus)

Two weeks ago, a huge blast ripped through a Revolutionary Guards military base 40 kilometers west of Tehran. The explosion could be heard as far away as the capital. Dozens of people were killed, including the head of Iran’s missile development project, General Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam.

This week, there was a powerful explosion in Isfahan, Iran’s third-largest city, which has a uranium conversion plant on its outskirts. It is not yet clear what was damaged in the blast.

Coupled with other incidents, including the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists

With all due respect for Western intelligence’s great efforts – including what is probably unprecedented operational coordination – it is unlikely these operations could have succeeded without inside support, meaning from individuals or groups ready to help sabotage the ayatollahs’ regime.

The theory about inside-help gains traction given that, in addition to the military targets, other sites – including oil facilities, gas pipelines, trains and military bases – were also damaged over the past year. Last year there was a considerable increase, of at least 10 percent, in “breakdowns” and “accidents” at Iran’s strategic infrastructure sites.

Iran has had fairly strong protesters who have tried to call for a revolution to overthrow the Islamic Republic (2009).

There have been more protests in 2011

2. Der Spiegel – ‘Never Before Has the World Been as Close to War with Iran’

Western pressure on Iran over its nuclear program continued Thursday, as the European Union moved to tighten some sanctions against the country, and laid the groundwork for a possible EU oil embargo.

The EU added 143 Iranian entities and 37 individuals to the list of those who assets would be frozen and who are banned from entering the 27-nation bloc. A decision on whether or not to ban oil imports from the country is expected before the end of January. In 2010, Iranian crude accounted for 5.28 percent of oil imports to the EU.

The tightened sanctions come in the wake of the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 29, in which protesters tore down the British flag, set fire to a car and caused what some eyewitnesses say is considerable damage to the compound. In response, the British government withdrew its diplomats from the country and expelled Iranian diplomats from London. Several other European countries moved to withdraw their ambassadors from Tehran as a result of the storming, which many believe had the backing the Iranian government, angry over further sanctions against the country following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on its nuclear program last month.

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