Iran reportedly halts uranium enrichment


(JTA) — Iran reportedly has halted uranium enrichment at its Natanz nuclear facility, a temporary move believed to have been caused by a computer virus.

The Washington Post reported late Monday that Iran’s nuclear program experienced serious problems that led to the temporary shutdown, which was first reported by The Associated Press.

The shutdown reportedly will be mentioned in a report to be issued Tuesday by the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Speculation that the shutdown was caused by the Stuxnet worm, a computer virus thought to be designed to destroy Iran’s nuclear program by sending nuclear centrifuges spinning out of control, has been denied by the Iranians. While no one has claimed responsibility for the virus, Israel has been blamed.

The United States has clamped tough sanctions on Iran due to its nuclear program. Iran insists that its nuclear program is strictly to create nuclear fuel for domestic use; Western powers fear it is producing the uranium for nuclear warheads.  

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