September 20, 2019 / 1:18 PM / a month ago

Iran oil minister inspects cyber security at key refinery

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh discussed cyber security and production bottlenecks during a visit to a major refinery and petrochemical plants on Iran’s Gulf coast on Friday, the official news agency IRNA reported.

“Investigating the refinery’s civil defense situation and related topics is among the goals ... of the oil minister’s one-day trip to Bandar Abbas,” IRNA reported.

Iran’s civil defense body is in charge of issues including cybersecurity.

IRNA said Zanganeh inspected several petrochemical plants and the 350,000-barrels per day Persian Gulf Star refinery, which helped Iran declare self-sufficiency in gasoline after the inauguration of its third phase in February.

In 2016, Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran’s civil defense, said Tehran had detected malicious software from two of its petrochemical complexes, but added that this was not linked to petrochemical fires.

Iran has long been on alert over the threat of cyber attacks by foreign countries. The United States and Israel covertly sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 and 2010 with the now-famous Stuxnet computer virus, which destroyed Iranian centrifuges that were enriching uranium.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom, editing by Louise Heavens

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