WSJ report thinks Israel spied on hotels which hosted P5+1 nuclear talks



Cybersecurity experts believe that Israel is most likely the party responsible for a wave of espionage targeting hotels used by negotiators in the P5+1-Iran nuclear talks, The Wall Street Journal is reporting on Wednesday.

Cyber hackers [illustrative] – Photo: REUTERS

According to counterhacking experts quoted by the Journal, analysts at a cybersecurity firm discovered traces of a viral software that is widely believed to have been used by Israel in the past to conduct sophisticated digital espionage.

The company, Kaspersky Lab ZAO, conducted an investigation which revealed that it had been targeted by an “improved version” of Duqu, a spyware that American officials believe has been used by Israel in the past to hack into computer systems.

When Kaspersky analysts conducted a review of millions of computer systems worldwide, they discovered that Duqu was also used to hack into three European hotels – all of which played host to the Western negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

According to the Journal, the Moscow-based company is expected to issue a report on its findings. The report is likely to implicitly attribute the espionage to Israel.

This past March, the Journal reported that Israel spied on the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran. According to the report, it further angered Obama administration officials by using the information gleaned from its espionage efforts to drum up opposition to a nuclear deal among US lawmakers.

The Western powers’ talks with Iran, with the US in the lead, resulted in a framework agreement this past April. The two sides are now working on a final status deal that would call for a lifting of economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iranian concessions on its nuclear program.

Israel has charged that the agreement being discussed is “a bad deal” that fails to adequately ensure Iranian compliance.

According to the Journal, Israel spied on the talks as part of the Netanyahu administration’s campaign to publicly build a case against the deal.

“It is one thing for the US and Israel to spy on each other,” a senior US official familiar with the details told the newspaper. “It is another thing for Israel to steal US secrets and play them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy.”


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