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Iran blasts US charges against three of its citizens over cyber attacks

Tehran says Washington pursuing ‘Iranophobic policy’ after placing sanctions on accused hackers and claiming they are linked to Revolutionary Guards

Illustrative image of a hacker and online fraud. (scyther5; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of a hacker and online fraud. (scyther5; iStock by Getty Images)

TEHRAN — Iran on Thursday strongly condemned what it called false accusations leveled by the United States against three of its citizens for alleged cyberattacks in the US and other countries.

The US Justice Department unveiled the indictments on Wednesday accusing the trio of exploiting computer vulnerabilities to extort “hundreds” of victims, including inside Britain, Australia, Iran, Russia, and the United States.

In a statement on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani “strongly condemned” the US measures against “citizens and companies on the false accusation of being involved in cyber attacks.”

“Resorting to launching a propaganda campaign… against Iran is part of the failed Iranophobic policy of the American government, which of course will not lead anywhere,” Kanaani said.

“The US, which has previously remained silent against numerous cyber attacks against Iran… and has even directly or indirectly supported these attacks, lacks the jurisdiction to accuse others.”

The Islamic Republic has also been targeted by cyber attacks, most notably in 2010 when the “Stuxnet” virus — believed to have been engineered by Israel and the US — infected its nuclear program.

On Wednesday, the US Justice Department said a shelter for victims of domestic violence and a children’s hospital were among those targeted by the three accused between October 2020 and August 2022.

It identified the three accused as Mansour Ahmadi, Ahmad Khatibi Aghda, and Amir Hossein Nikaeen Ravari.

The US Treasury Department also announced sanctions against the trio, saying they were linked to Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The US State Department offered a $10 million reward for information on them.

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