Iran says Israel, U.S. likely behind cyberattack on gas stations

A man fills up his car's tank at a petrol station, after fuel price increased in Tehran
A man fills up his car's tank at a petrol station, after fuel price increased in Tehran, Iran November 15, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

DUBAI, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Iran's civil defence chief on Saturday accused Israel and the United States of being the likely culprits behind a cyberattack which disrupted gasoline sales across the Islamic Republic, but 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 the Zionist Regime, the Americans and their agents," Gholamreza Jalali, head of civil defence which is in charge of cyber security, told state TV in an interview.

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

President Ebrahim Raisi said this week that the cyberattack, which disrupted the sale of heavily subsidised gasoline, was designed to create "disorder".

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

Jalali said that, based on completed investigations, Iran was "certain" that the United States and Israel were behind the cyberattacks on Iran's railroads in July and the Shahid Rajaee Port in May 2020.

Iran's train services were delayed in July by apparent cyberattacks, 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 gas stations were now reconnected and resuming the sale of heavily subsidised fuel, the state news agency IRNA said on Saturday. Hours after the cyberattack, gas stations reopened gradually but could only be operated manually for the sale of more expensive fuel.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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