Iran is reportedly claiming that it successfully uprooted a CIA-led cyberespionage operation and arrested several U.S. spies in the process.
“One of the most complicated CIA cyberespionage networks that had an important role in the CIA’s operations in different countries was exposed by the Iranian intelligence agencies a while ago and was dismantled,” said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Reuters reported on Monday, citing Iranian state broadcaster IRIB.
“We shared the information about the exposed network with our allies that led to the identification and arrest of CIA intelligence agents,” Shamkhani reportedly continued.
Iran’s allegations against the CIA came just as the country also threatened to ramp up its nuclear enrichment program in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was reached in 2015 between Iran the P5+1 nations and the European Union in 2015. President Donald Trump had previously announced the U.S.’s withdrawal from this same agreement in May 2018, later launching new sanctions against Iran.
Also recently, the U.S. accused Iran of attacking two tankers near the Persian Gulf on June 13, a charge Iran has denied. And just yesterday, the Pentagon announced it would send 1,000 additional U.S. troops to the Middle East in a show of force against Iran.
Iran itself is known for a robust cyberespionage program, and has been linked to APT groups such as such as APT33, OilRig, Charming Kitten and Greenbug. Some cyber experts have theorized that Iran had eased up on launching disruptive cyberattacks on the U.S. following the JCPOA accord. But following the U.S.’s withdrawal from the pact, Iranian cyber attacks against U.S. interests reportedly may have intensified again.