Iran Rebuffs U.S. Cyber-Attack Charges for Lack of Evidence

  • Ministry spokesman says cyber actions not on Iran's agenda
  • U.S. said hackers were working for Revolutionary Guard Corps

Iran brushed aside cyber-attack charges brought against seven of its citizens by U.S. prosecutors, accusing Washington of putting millions of Iranians in danger with its own attacks on Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, told reporters that the U.S. “is not in any position to charge citizens of other countries, not least Iran’s, without providing any documentary evidence,” according to the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency on Saturday.

A U.S. indictment unsealed Thursday accused hackers linked to Iran of targeting about four dozen financial institutions and a flood-control dam north of New York City. Beginning in 2011, the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and AT&T Inc. were among targets. One Iran-based hacker gained remote access to a computer controlling the dam for about three weeks beginning in 2013, according to the indictment in a Manhattan federal court.

“Iran has never had dangerous actions in cyberspace on its agenda nor has it ever supported such actions,” Jaberi Ansari said, adding that the U.S. was behind a series of cyber-attacks on Iran’s nuclear program that put “the lives of millions of innocent people” at risk of an environment disaster.

Last year Iran and the U.S. helped shepherd a historic nuclear agreement which ended a decade of sanctions in exchange for Iran scaling back its atomic activities. Tensions between the two remain high over the U.S.’s Middle East policy and Iran’s alleged links to terrorism and poor human-rights record.

The hackers were working on behalf of the Iranian government and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military wing of the Iranian state, Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters in Washington. The hacking of the small dam could have posed a danger if the facility hadn’t been shut down for maintenance, she said.

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