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The Iranian security forces have arrested a group of people that Iranian media report were trying to influence officials at the country’s oil ministry into “putting off important decisions” and “making wrong decisions” to the benefit of the United States.
According to Fars News, which cited a senior legislator, the spy team “operated under a woman who had been able to influence 16 important and influential managers of the oil ministry to put off important decisions in the ministry and hit a blow to the country in the US economic war against Iran.”
The arrests followed the execution of a former employee of the Aerospace Industries Organization—a unit of the Defense Ministry—for working for the U.S. and the CIA, specifically.
"It is interesting to know that a while ago, the Iranian intelligence apparatus discovered and cracked down on one of the most complicated cyber networks of the CIA which was used for cyber spying and was an important part of the CIA's operational capacities in the countries targeted by the US," said the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani.
The former ministry employee, Jalal Haji Zavar, was executed after being tried by a military court, Iranian and other media reported this weekend, and after he had confessed to working for the CIA for pay. The trial and execution of Zavar, however, was not linked to the uncovering of the “cyber network” Ali Shamkhani told media about last week.
The apparent crackdown on spies in Iran comes as tensions with the U.S. continue to intensify, with President Trump saying during the weekend there were more sanctions against Tehran in the works and military action was still on the table after Iran shot down a U.S. drone. Initially, the U.S. side rejected the reports of the drone downing, but later confirmed the event.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials told the Associated Press that the Pentagon had launched cyberattacks against Iranian missile control systems disabling the computer systems controlling rocket and missile launchers.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.