US ‘Launched Cyber-Attack On Iran Weapons Systems’
The cyber-attack disabled computer systems controlling rocket and missile launchers, the Washington Post said.
There is no independent confirmation of damage to Iranian systems.
The US has also imposed sanctions President Trump described as “major”.
He said the sanctions were needed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and economic pressure would be maintained unless Tehran changed course.
Last week Iran said it would exceed internationally agreed limits on its nuclear programme.
Mr Trump has said he does not want war with Iran, but warned it it would face “obliteration” if conflict broke out.
What did the US cyber-attack do?
The attack had been planned for several weeks, the sources told several US media outlets, and was suggested as a way of responding to the mine attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Both the Washington Post and AP news agency said the cyber-attack had disabled the systems. The New York Times said it was intended to take the systems offline for a period of time.
Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said “malicious cyberactivity” was being directed at US industries and government agencies by “Iranian regime actors and their proxies”.
They were using “destructive ‘wiper’ attacks”, he said, using tactics such as “spear phishing, password spraying and credential stuffing” in a bid to take control of entire networks.
What has Trump said?
On Saturday he said he was open to talks with the Iranians.
“If Iran wants to become a prosperous nation… it’s OK with me,” Mr Trump said. “But they’re never going to do it if they think in five or six years they’re going to have nuclear weapons.”
“Let’s make Iran great again,” he added, echoing his campaign slogan from the 2016 presidential election.
The reinstatement of US sanctions last year – particularly those imposed on the energy, shipping and financial sectors – caused foreign investment to dry up and hit oil exports.
This has led to shortages of imported goods and products that are made with raw materials from abroad, most notably babies’ nappies.
The plunging value of the rial has also affected the cost of locally produced staples such as meat and eggs, which have soared in price.
What happened to the US drone?
But US military officials maintain the drone was in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at the time.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a high-ranking officer in the IRGC, said another military aircraft, carrying 35 passengers, had been flying close to the drone. “We could have shot down that one too, but we did not,” he said.
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