Iran struggles to reopen gas stations after cyberattack
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran is struggling to restart its gas distribution system after being hit by an unprecedented cyber attack that security officials say was launched from overseas.
The unclaimed attack crippled the country’s system of government-issued electronic cards that motorists use to purchase heavily subsidized fuel.
Long queues have formed outside gas stations, angering drivers in a country already suffering severe economic sanctions over its nuclear dispute with the big powers.
“Guys, can you tell me where we can find gasoline in the east, northeast or even north of Tehran? Asks a user on Twitter.
Of the 4,300 Iranian gas stations connected to the system, only 220 have been reconnected, Fatemeh Kahi, spokesperson for the National Oil Products Distribution Company, told the official IRNA news agency today.
However, she adds, “nearly 3,000 stations can dispense fuel offline, but at the open price” – the rate consumers have to pay after they run out of their monthly subsidized fuel allowance.
The conservative Fars news agency linked the blackout to opponents ahead of the second anniversary of the deadly protests sparked by rising gasoline prices.
Fars reported yesterday that “a campaign by counterrevolutionary media” ahead of the November 15, 2019 anniversary “reinforces the possibility of a cyberattack.”
On that date, two years ago, news of a sudden increase in fuel prices sparked protests in dozens of places across the country. It was the loudest eruption of public dissent in Iran in a decade.