Iran urges Austria to help secure nuclear talks

Iran wants Austrians to take precautions against spying in nuclear talks

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Tehran has asked Vienna to protect the cyber security of its nuclear talks with six world powers which according to a Russian-based security firm were allegedly spied on by Israel, AFP has reported.

Separate investigations were opened by Swiss and Austrian authorities following the allegations of spying in hotels where the nuclear talks with Iran are taking place.

Despite the suspicion of the involvement of Israeli IT experts, the deputy foreign minister of Israel, Tziği Hotovely, on Thursday rejected claims that its secret services were involved.

“Iran's embassy in Austria demanded Austria's foreign ministry immediately provide all required security measures for the talks, including enhanced security for the venues as well as better cyber protection," the ISNA news agency has reported.

The Russia-based computer company Kaspersky Lab had said spyware was found in three European hotels that hosted negotiations involving Iran and six world powers regarding a proposed nuclear deal, and also on the company's own computers.

The Iran nuclear deal is scheduled to be finalized on June 30. The deal emphasizes the importance of peaceful nuclear research for Iran, and reaffirms the country’s commitment not to embark on nuclear weapons development, In return crippling sanctions imposed on the country’s economy will be lifted.

Both Kaspersky and US security company Symantec have said the virus shares some similarities with a previously discovered espionage software named Duqu, thought to have been developed by Israelis.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has denied Israel was involved. "The international reports of Israeli involvement in the matter are baseless," she told Army Radio. Israeli authorities refrained from commenting at first.

"What is much more important is that we prevent a bad agreement where at the end of the day we find ourselves with a Iranian nuclear umbrella," she said.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - China, France, Russia, UK and the US- are officially known to possess nuclear weapons in accordance with the Treaty on the 1970 Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the NPT in short), which is intended to stop the spread of nuclear weapons technology. 

The world’s major powers are close to concluding the nuclear negotiations with Iran aimed at forcing Iran to fulfill its obligations under the NPT. 

At the opening day of a recent month long conference at the UN concerning the NPT, United States Secretary of State John Kerry told the 191 NPT signatories: "We are, in fact, closer than ever to the good, comprehensive deal that we have been seeking, and if we can get there, the entire world will be safer." 

Iran denies western allegations that it is covertly pursuing nuclear weapons and insists its atomic activities are for peaceful energy purposes.


TRTWorld and agencies