“Majority of petrol stations affected; Iran blames external powers for cyber assault”
In a significant development, Iran has reported a cyber attack that disrupted fuel distribution at around 60% of petrol stations, with authorities pointing fingers at Israel and the United States.
The attack, which occurred on Monday, led to system failures, long queues at petrol stations, and a call for an immediate investigation by President Ebrahim Raisi.
Oil Minister Javad Owji, speaking to state TV, confirmed the cyber attack, stating that “some gas stations across the country suffered a cyber attack, and the fuel distribution stopped.”
Owji attributed the attack to external powers, specifically mentioning “the Zionist enemy (Israel) and the United States,” suggesting their involvement in creating trouble.
Deputy Oil Minister Jalil Salari indicated that the disruption was linked to problems with the cards Iranians use to purchase subsidized petrol.
Iran, a significant oil producer, boasts one of the lowest petrol prices globally, with a card allowing citizens to buy up to 60 litres per month at a subsidized rate of 15,000 rials (approximately 3 US cents) per litre.
Following the system failure, petrol stations had to “disconnect the online system,” and fuel distribution had to be carried out offline, according to Salari.
The incident led to long queues and closures at Tehran petrol stations, highlighting the cyber attack’s immediate impact.
This is not the first time Iran has faced such a cyber threat. In October 2021, the country experienced a week-long disruption, which officials attributed to an unprecedented cyber-attack by external actors.
Fuel cards, introduced in 2007 to reform the subsidy system and combat smuggling, have become a crucial aspect of Iran’s petrol distribution.
Iran’s economy has faced challenges due to internal mismanagement and external pressures, including the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States in 2018 after withdrawing from the nuclear agreement.
The government has consistently accused Israel of sabotage attacks and assassinations targeting Iran’s nuclear program.
In response to the recent cyber attack, President Raisi called for an investigation and urged “immediate measures” to resolve the crisis. A “crisis committee” has been formed, and Deputy Oil Minister Salari expressed hope that the system would be fixed within a few hours.
The situation underscores the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cyber threats and raises concerns about the potential economic impact on Iran, which is already grappling with various challenges.
The allegations of cyber attacks involving external powers add a geopolitical dimension to the incident, further straining relations between Iran, Israel, and the United States.
As the investigation unfolds, the international community will be closely watching to understand the extent of the cyber attack’s impact on Iran’s fuel distribution system and to assess the potential motives behind such incidents in the complex geopolitical landscape of the Middle East.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members