China may actually be responsible for the cyber attack that disabled Iranian nuclear facilities, according to Jeffrey Carr.
Writing in Forbes, Carr proposes an alternate scenario to that assumed by most: that the U.S. or Israel conducted the attack in an effort to stall Iran’s nuclear program.
Carr’s contention is that several companies associated with the Stuxnet worm have operations in China, China has an intimate understanding of the centrifuges built in Iran (made in China), and China doesn’t want Iran to get nuclear weapons.
On April 13, 2010, Beijing reiterated its opposition to Iran’s goal to develop nuclear weapons capabilities while stating that sanctions against Iran would be counter-productive. In other words, the PRC wanted to support its third largest supplier of oil (after Saudi Arabia and Angola) while at the same time seeking ways to get Iran to stop its uranium fuel enrichment program. What better way to accomplish that goal than by covertly creating a virus that will sabotage Natanz’ centrifuges in a way that simulates mechanical failure while overtly supporting the Iranian government by opposing sanctions pushed by the U.S. It’s both simple and elegant. Even if the worm was discovered before it accomplished its mission, who would blame China, Iran’s strongest ally, when the most obvious culprits would be Israel and the U.S.?
It’s a compelling argument, perhaps slightly less sexy than the Israeli-U.S. explanation, but one worth considering nevertheless.
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