Iran says no change in venue of N. talks even after revelations about Israel’s spying

TEHRAN (FNA)- Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said Tehran and the world powers do not plan to change the venue of their nuclear negotiations from Switzerland and Austria even after they realized that they were spied on by Israel.

“Such a decision should be taken by the foreign ministry and changing the venue of the negotiations has not been put forward for now,” Kamalvandi told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

Asked by reporters if AEOI Chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who has recently gone under medical operations and is spending his recovery period now, in the nuclear talks again, he said, “At present, there is no need for Mr. Salehi to be present in the negotiations and such a decision has not been taken for the future either because Mr. Salehi has reached an overall agreement with the American side and we don’t have any problem in the general points now.”

Iran on Saturday voiced concern over the media reports that the venues of nuclear talks between Tehran and the G5+1 in Switzerland and Austria have come under attack by hackers, and called on the hosting nations to prevent the spying operation.

In separate official messages to the foreign ministries of Austria and Switzerland, Iran’s diplomatic missions in Vienna and Bern notified the two European countries of Iran’s serious concern over the security of the locations that hosted the negotiations between Iran and the G5+1.

The Iranian embassies demanded that any information found in an investigation of the issue be shared with Tehran.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry was asked in particular to take whatever measures necessary to provide security, including cyber-security, for the venue of the talks.

The negotiations continue as a cybersecurity firm has identified breaches in its software at three luxury Swiss hotels that hosted the Iran nuclear talks from a virus considered a hallmark of Israeli intelligence operations.

Kaspersky Lab ZAO discovered the virus at the three hotels where world powers and Iran held negotiations over its nuclear program in the past year.

According to its report of the investigation, Kaspersky crosschecked thousands of hotels in search of similar breaches and found only three. The firm declined to name the hotels, but the negotiations have been held in just six hotels in Switzerland and Austria since the diplomatic effort first began.

Kaspersky has concluded that the perpetrator was a sophisticated virus known as Duqu, which allows its handlers to monitor activity, steal computer, files and eavesdrop on the rooms in which computers are operating.

The company also reported that the front desks of the hotels had also been hacked, which the Journal said would allow the hackers to identify the room numbers of specific delegates and ministers.

Both Switzerland and Austria that have hosted several rounds of talks between Iran and the six world power have ordered investigations.

US officials publicly accused Israel of spying on the talks back in 2014 and have repeated those allegations on multiple occasions since. Israel’s intelligence effort, they say, began in 2012, when the Obama administration first opened a covert channel with Tehran.

Iran’s top envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi said on Friday that Israel’s spying on the nuclear talks was nothing unexpected to Tehran.

“The nuclear negotiations have enemies, specially the Zionist regime that does not want the talks to succeed. Owing to the same fact, they would spare no efforts and their spying was and is not an unexpected issue,” Najafi said.

Yet, the IAEA envoy stressed that the negotiators have always adopted the necessary precautions.

By Fars News Agency