Iran has accused German industrial giant Siemens of placing small explosives in equipment that forms the backbone of the country’s nuclear program.
"The equipment was supposed to explode after being put to work, in order to dismantle all our systems," declared Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the security committee in Iran’s parliament. "But the wisdom of our experts thwarted the enemy conspiracy."
He said the measures were intended to slow down the country’s burgeoning nuclear program.
Siemens issued a flat denial.
"We have no business dealings related to the Iranian nuclear program," said company spokesman Alexander Machowetz, noting that the company has not worked with Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Sales of nuclear equipment to Iran are currently banned under an international embargo, as the country is widely suspected of using it to advance a nuclear weapons development program. While Siemens does not supply Iran directly, according to inFocus Quarterly its electronic control systems – which are not under embargo – are imported through an independent third-party supplier.
Most uranium enrichment centrifuges at Iran’s nuclear sites are presumed to be operated by Siemens systems. Obtaining high-grade uranium is a prerequisite for producing nuclear weapons.
If the information on explosives is correct, this would not be the first time Siemens equipment has been used as a target.
Vulnerabilities in Siemens operating software were exploited by Stuxnet, a virus that helped to disable up to 1,000 centrifuges two years ago, though the company was not implicated in developing it.
Iran frequently accuses Western governments and companies of sabotage. Only last month, it claimed that foreign spies cut power lines to its underground nuclear facility at Fordo.