U.S. to Israel: Don’t Hit Iran Nuclear Sites Alone

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 @ 01:10 PM gHale

In light of news about Iran working on some type of counter to Stuxnet, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Israel Monday with a message from the President: The United States opposes any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

At a joint press conference with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Panetta said any steps against Iran’s nuclear program must occur in coordination with the international community.

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The United Statesis “very concerned, and we will work together to do whatever is necessary” to keep Iran from posing “a threat to this region,” Panetta said. But doing so “depends on the countries working together,” he added.

He repeated the word “together” several times in this context.

Panetta cited Iran’s nuclear program as number one on the list of issues he had discussed with Barak. He voiced concern not only about the nuclear program, but also about Iran’s support for terror, its efforts to undermine regional stability and the fact it had supplied weapons that used to kill American soldiers.

At the press conference, which took place at Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, Panetta also stressed America’s deep commitment to Israel’s security.

Meanwhile, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said a military strike on Iran is “far from being Israel’s preferred option.” Addressing the Council for Peace and Security, he said, “there are currently tools and methods that are much more effective.”

Last year, the Stuxnet worm hit the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in Iran. The worm, which sources have said the U.S. and Israel created, set back the Iranian nuclear program for years.

Stuxnet is a sophisticated piece of computer malware designed to sabotage industrial processes controlled by Siemens SIMATIC WinCC and PCS 7 control systems, which was in use at the Natanz facility. The worm used known and previously unknown vulnerabilities to install, infect and propagate, and was powerful enough to evade state-of-the-art security technologies and procedures.

The worm used at least four zero-day exploits and had Microsoft Windows driver modules signed using genuine cryptographic certificates stolen from respectable companies, contained about 4,000 functions, and utilized advanced anti-analysis techniques to render reverse engineering difficult.

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