Iran says cyberattack caused gas station chaos

Long lines and confusion clogged gas stations across Iran on Wednesday, as technical issues that Iran state media blamed on a cyberattack disrupted gasoline sales.

(Farsi) DELIVERY DRIVER, NAME UNKNOWN, SAYING: "In the last four hours and I have gone to 15 different places and I still have not been able to get gas, and I've been standing here for four hours. We’re waiting for the system to connect and it still has not connected."

The chaos comes weeks before the second anniversary of deadly 2019 street protests that followed fuel price hikes.

Iran says it is on high alert for online assaults, which it has blamed in the past on the United States and Israel.

The U.S. and other Western powers meanwhile have accused Iran of trying to disrupt their networks.

The oil ministry said only sales with smart cards used for cheaper rationed gasoline were disrupted, and clients could still buy fuel at higher rates.

But Jafar Salari, director of National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, part of Iran's oil ministry, would not confirm that hackers were behind the chaos:

(Farsi) DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL IRANIAN OIL REFINING AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY, JAFAR SALARI, SAYING: (SPLIT SCREEN WITH STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF SALARI AND NEWS PRESENTER IN STUDIO)

SALARI: "No, the cause has not yet been investigated. This is also being looked into so that we can see where the problem is coming from - whether it’s a software issue or a cyberattack issue."

Industry officials told state TV that nearly half of gas stations had reopened as technicians rushed to activate manual settings after online functions were paralyzed by hackers.

Iran has been targeted by a series of cyberattacks. In July, the transportation ministry's website was taken down by what state media said was a "cyber disruption," and train services were delayed by apparent cyberattacks.

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