Israel has tested a computer worm believed to have sabotaged Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and slowed its ability to develop an atomic weapon, The New York Times reported Saturday.

In what the Times described as a joint Israeli-U.S. effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it said the tests of the destructive Stuxnet worm had occurred over the past two years at the heavily guarded Dimona complex in the Negev desert.

The newspaper cited unidentified intelligence and military experts familiar with Dimona who said Israel had spun centrifuges virtually identical to those at Iran’s Natanz facility, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium.

“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” an American expert on nuclear intelligence told the newspaper. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”

Western leaders suspect Iran’s nuclear program is a cover to build atomic weapons, but Tehran says it is aimed only at producing electricity.

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