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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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Stuxnet Saves Israel Trouble of Iran Strike

December 15, 2010 - 11:07 AM | by: Leland Vittert

It appears the Stuxnet computer virus may have done more harm to Iran’s nuclear program than even the most savage of air strikes could have.

A report in the Jerusalem Post quotes a German computer expert saying the “Stuxnet” virus set Iran’s nuclear program back two years.

Fox News ecently reported how the Stuxnet virus attacked the nuclear centrifuges at Iran’s main uranium enrichment site in Natanz and how Tehran is scrambling to fix computers attacked by the virus.

But the reported delay in Iran’s suspect nuclear program is huge news in Israel where leaders here have been sounding the alarm about the program which most of the world believes is aimed at producing a nuclear bomb.

Israel took unilateral military action to destroy nuclear production facilities in Iraq and Syria but have so far held off on a military strike against Iran’s extensive facilities.

“Just to get their systems running again they have to get rid of the virus, and this will take time, and then they need to replace the equipment, and they have to rebuild the centrifuges at Natanz and possibly buy a new turbine for Bushehr,” the Post quoted the German who they say has direct knowledge of the virus and the damage done.

Meir Javendanfar a professor of Iranian studies and author of a leading biography of the Iranian President was more cautious in his analysis.

“We need to wait a while to find out exactly how much power has been caused.”

However he continued whomever pulled the attack created the perfect storm without getting their hands dirty.

“This is the worst case senerior for the Islamic Republic of Iran,”  he said.  “This is an absoulte nightmare. They would much rather war because they could use the war to rally the public around the flag and boost their popularity.”

So far its unclear how the powerful virus made its way into the computers that control uranium enrichment and other key parts of the program, but Iran is pointing the finger at Israel and Western powers.

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