0428 GMT September 29, 2022
The spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general did not confirm the Albanian government’s claim that Iran has carried out a cyberattack against the European state’s communication infrastructure.
On Thursday, Stéphane Dujarric said the UN does not have independent data confirming whether Albania has come under any cyberattack or not.
On Wednesday, having accused Tehran of the cyberattack against Tirana, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama terminated his country’s diplomatic ties with Iran, calling on the Iranian diplomats and embassy staff to leave the country within 24 hours.
Iran and Albania, however, have not had diplomatic relations at the level of ambassadors since 2018 and the former’s embassy is operating at the level of chargé d'affaires in Tirana.
The claims come, as in a statement on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected the Albanian government’s baseless allegations, slamming as an uncalculated and shortsighted move in the area of international relations the European state’s decision to sever political ties with Tehran.
The Foreign Ministry’s statement added the Islamic Republic, as a target of cyberattacks on its vital infrastructure, rejects and condemns any misuse of the cyberspace as a means of carrying out attacks on other states’ vital infrastructure.
Nevertheless, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and some of its member states, including the United States and Britain, denounced the alleged cyberattack against Albania and used the baseless claim as a pretext to repeat their political attacks on Tehran.
The new anti-Iran campaign comes as the Islamic Republic has been a victim of cyberattacks over the past years. The latest instance of such attacks against Iran dates back to four months ago, when some groups hacked Tehran Municipality’s website. Prior to that, Iranian petrol stations had come under such attacks, before which the same thing had happened to the country’s nuclear facilities. Iranian officials normally blame such attacks on the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) and Israel’s intelligence service.
Under the present circumstances, the question is whether those governments that are currently censuring the cyberattack on the Albanian government adopted similar stances when Iran was the target of similar attacks. Did they condemn the cyberattacks against Tehran or choose to remain silent?
The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN has asked the same question from the U.S. and British governments. It, in a Twitter thread, wrote on Thursday: “The US and the UK, that had previously remained silent in numerous cyberattacks against Iran’s infrastructures and its nuclear facilities, and had even directly or indirectly supported those measures, lack any legitimacy to level such accusations against Iran.”
It added, “Iran urges the Member States of the UN to uphold their international obligations in combating terrorism by not harboring or supporting terrorist groups within their territory.”
The Albanian government has accused Iran of the cyberattack while it is host to the MKO, which is a quite infamous terrorist group. During the three decades it was based in Iraq, the terror group perpetrated numerous acts of terror against Iran. Following the downfall of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2012, in a highly suspicious move, the group was removed from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations and, later in 2016, was transferred to Albania. The terrorist organization has launched widespread cyberattacks against Iran from the Albanian soil.