Tehran, Oct 26 (EFE).- A cyberattack paralized gas stations across Iran on Tuesday, prompting large lines of drivers who found themselves unable to fill up vehicles using government-issued cards for subsidized fuel, which are common in the sanction-hit nation.
The card system stopped working for several hours from the mid-morning and lasted several hours.
Following a raft of contradictory official messages, Iran’s state TV eventually cited the Supreme National Security Council as describing the incident as a “cyberattack.”
The Oil Ministry said it would hold an emergency meeting to tackle the “technical problem” but did not offer more details about what caused the fuel cards, which many drivers use in Iran amid an economic crisis exacerbated by international sanctions, to malfunction.
Efe witnessed long lines of drivers outside a gas station in a neighborhood of Tehran, the capital.
Iran’s national oil products distribution company said later on Tuesday that gas stations were gradually returning to normal although by mid-afternoon just 15 stations were up and running in Tehran, a city of around nine million people.
At the same time as the cyberattack, a billboard in the central city of Isfahan was hacked to display the words “Khamenei! Where is our fuel?” according to state media.
Footage of the incident, which was directed at Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, went viral on social media.
The apparent cyberattack comes just weeks before the anniversary of the 2019 protests that erupted in response to rising fuel prices. The theocratic regime of the Islamic Republic clamped down on the demonstrations. EFE