Daily Israel Report

Iran Says Nuclear Reactor Sabotage Attempt Foiled

Senior official claims sabotage at Arak heavy water reactor stopped before damage, adds lab launched to combat cyber attacks.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/15/2014, 9:36 PM

Arak Heavy Water Reactor
Arak Heavy Water Reactor
AFP photo

A senior official in Iran announced Saturday that authorities identified and neutralized a sabotage attempt at Arak heavy water nuclear reactor. Details of the sabotage remain unclear. 

The official, Asghar Zarean, heads security at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. "Several cases of industrial sabotage have been neutralized in the past few months before achieving the intended damage, including sabotage at a part of the IR-40 facility at Arak," announced Zarean.

While Zarean did not specify if the sabotage was via a virus, he went on to announce a lab meant to combat cyber attacks. "This specialized lab has been launched to identify, prevent and fight threats including modern software viruses," declared the official.

Iran's nuclear program was significantly set back in 2010 following the "Stuxnet virus," which wreaked havoc by taking the Islamic regime's reactors out of commission. Last December, Iranian news agency Fars claimed Israel and Saudi Arabia were teaming up to launch an updated version of the virus.

The Arak heavy water plant has been a sticking point in negotiations between Iran and the West. Satellite images from almost a year ago showed that the plant was operational, raising fears that it is being used to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

Wendy Sherman, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, stated last December "quite frankly, we're not quite sure what you need a 40-megawatt heavy water reactor, which is what Arak is, for any civilian peaceful purpose."

In attempts to assuage Western fears, Iran suggested it might be willing to modify the Arak plant in February, saying its plutonium production could be limited.

However, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Iran last Thursday, saying "there's some very tough decisions the Iranians are going to have to make - very tough - in order to meet the international community's standard for certainty as to the peacefulness of this program."

Less than peaceful signs from Iran

Iran has continued its threatening rhetoric recently, with a senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards threatening to destroy Israel last Tuesday. "Today, we can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime's control with any volume of fire power right from here," said the commander.

The announcement came the same week that Israel displayed a weapons cache from Iran to the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, seized by Israel from a ship the week before.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared last Monday "we cannot allow Iran to continue building nuclear weapons. Today, Israel exposed Iran's attempts against its people; tomorrow, the whole world could be involved."

Meanwhile Russia signed a preliminary agreement to build at least two more nuclear power plants in the Iranian port city of Bushehr last Wednesday.