The United States conducted a secret cyber strike on Iran at the end of September, following the mid-September attacks on Saudi oil facilities that cut off 5 percent of global oil supply, U.S. officials told Reuters.
The U.S. carried out the cyber operations with the purpose of undermining Iran’s capabilities to spread “propaganda”, two U.S. officials told Reuters on the condition of anonymity. The cyber strike affected physical hardware, one of the officials said but did not go into details.
On September 14, the Abqaiq facility and the Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia were hit by attacks, which resulted in the temporary suspension of 5.7 million bpd of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production, or around 5 percent of global daily oil supply.
U.S. President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry all blamed Iran for the attack. Saudi Arabia has also pointed the finger at Iran.
Days after the attacks on vital oil infrastructure in the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia said it had decided to join the U.S.-led maritime security coalition that aims to ensure freedom of navigation and safe passage through the Persian Gulf.
Last week, the Pentagon said that it would deploy additional troops and a missile defense system in Saudi Arabia to bolster security in the wake of the attacks on the Kingdom’s oil infrastructure.
Tensions in and around some of the Middle East’s largest oil producers have been running high in the past month since the September 14 attacks.
At the end of last week, Iran said that explosions hit one of its oil tankers off the Saudi port city of Jeddah in the Red Sea, damaging the vessel and causing an oil spill. Saudi Arabia denied any involvement in the attack, while Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Monday that Iran would not leave the Friday attack on the Sabiti tanker unpunished.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com