Iran defence chief claims US and Israel behind petrol station cyber attack

Gholamreza Jalali admits he is 'unable to say forensically' who was responsible

A fuel station in the Iranian capital of Tehran. The cyber attack disrupted the sale of heavily subsidised petrol across the country. AP
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Iran's civil defence chief has claimed Israel and the US are behind a cyber attack that disrupted petrol sales across the country.

Gholamreza Jalali, head of civil defence, which is in charge of cyber security, said a technical investigation was yet to be completed.

“We are still unable to say forensically, but analytically I believe it was carried out by [Israel], the Americans and their agents,” Mr Jalali told state TV on Saturday.

Iran has said in the past few years that it is on high alert for online assaults, which it has blamed on the US and Israel. The US and other western powers, meanwhile, have accused Iran of trying to disrupt and break into their networks.

Israel and the US are yet to respond to the Iranian claim.

President Ebrahim Raisi said the cyber attack, which disrupted the sale of heavily subsidised petrol, was designed to create “disorder".

The disruptions on Tuesday came before the second anniversary of bloody protests in Iran over a sharp increase in fuel prices in November 2019 that became a political movement with protesters demanding the resignation of country's top rulers.

Mr Jalali said that, based on completed investigations, Iran was “certain” the US and Israel were behind the cyber attacks on Iran's railroads in July and the Shahid Rajaee Port in May 2020.

Iran's train services were delayed in July by apparent cyber attacks, with hackers posting the phone number of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office as the number to call for information.

About half of Iran's 4,300 petrol stations were now reconnected and resuming the sale of heavily subsidised fuel, the state news agency Irna said on Saturday. Hours after the cyber attack, petrol stations reopened gradually but could only be operated manually for the sale of more expensive fuel.

Updated: October 31, 2021, 5:05 AM