JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday the International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran’s nuclear program reflected what is known about the Islamic Republic’s efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, but did not indicate how close this is.
“Iran is closer to getting the bomb than is thought,” Netanyahu was quoted as telling cabinet ministers.
“Only things that could be proven were written [in the UN report], but in reality there are many other things that we see,” Netanyahu said.
At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu repeated his call for the world “to stop Iran’s race to arm itself with a nuclear weapon before it is too late.”
While speculation abounds as to whether Israel is prepared to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities to stop it from developing a nuclear weapon, Time magazine reported Sunday that Israel may be behind a more conventional move to thwart Iran’s plans.
A massive explosion Saturday at a military arms depot and missile development site near Tehran killed a Revolutionary Guard commander who was considered to the father of Iran’s missile program.
Gen. Hasan Moghaddam was killed together with 16 other Guard members in the blast, which Iran was quick to label an accidental explosion while soldiers were transporting munitions.
“Don’t believe the Iranians that it was an accident,” a Western intelligence official told Time. He insisted that Israel’s Mossad was responsible for the blast and that there are more plans to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. “There are more bullets in the magazine,” he told Time.
Iran has accused Israel of assassinating several of its nuclear scientists and undermining its nuclear program by cyber attacks. On Sunday it announced that its scientists had detected an attempted invasion by the Duqu computer virus, a malware based on Stuxnet, the cyber-weapon that sabotaged Iran’s centrifuges last year.
The head of Iran’s civil defense organization, Gholamreza Jalali, told the official IRNA news agency that Iran had developed software to combat the virus. “We are in the initial phase of fighting the Duqu virus,” he said. “All the organizations and centers that could be susceptible to being contaminated are being controlled.”
Iran admitted on Sunday that some of its computer systems have been infected by Duqu. The virus is believed to be a more advanced version of the Stuxnet virus, which is believed to have destroyed about 1,000 centrifuges at Natanz that were being used to enrich uranium. The New York Times reported in January that the US and Israel created Stuxnet in order to cripple Iran’s nuclear program.