Iran creates unit to defend against cyber attacks

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ? A senior Iranian official says the country has created a special unit to defend the Islamic Republic against cyber attacks.

The Mehr news agency quotes the head of Iran’s Civil Defense agency, Gen. Gholamreza Jalali, as saying Monday the command unit is headed by the armed forces but also includes officials from the defense and telecommunications ministries. It will also cooperate closely with the nation’s intelligence agencies.

Iran has been hit by at least two computer viruses recently that Tehran says are part of a concerted campaign to undermine the country’s disputed nuclear program.

Last year, a powerful virus known as Stuxnet targeted Iran’s nuclear facilities and other industrial sites, and Tehran has acknowledged the virus affected a limited number of centrifuges ? a key component in nuclear fuel production.