Swiss, Austrians conduct spying probes over Iran talks

AP News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2015 9:15 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss prosecutors are conducting an espionage investigation amid suspicions that hotels hosting the talks on Iran's nuclear program have been targeted in a cyber-spying campaign. Austria is also looking into the allegations.

Kaspersky, a cybersecurity firm, said this week it had uncovered the campaign and that the malware was so sophisticated it must have been created by a government.

Switzerland's investigation is directed against persons unknown and was opened following a report from the Swiss intelligence agency, Andre Marty, a spokesman for Swiss federal prosecutors, said Thursday.

The Swiss government asked prosecutors to open an investigation on May 6 and a Geneva hotel was searched on May 12, during which unspecified information technology was seized, he said in an email. He would not say whether any arrests had been made.

Most of the Iran talks over recent months have taken place in Switzerland and neighboring Austria.

In Austria, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said "authorities are looking into the accusations and they are being investigated." She didn't elaborate.

Iran and six world powers — the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — are trying to seal a deal on Tehran's nuclear program by June 30. The six powers want long-term caps on Iranian nuclear programs that could be used to make weapons. Tehran denies any interest in atomic arms and is seeking an end to sanctions in exchange for nuclear concessions.

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George Jahn in Vienna contributed to this report.