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Gas stations returning to normal as Iran confirms cyberattack

Photo taken by Iran’s Fars news agency shows motorists filling up their tanks at a gas station in downtown Tehran following a brief outage reported on October 26, 2021.

Iranian gas stations are returning to normal status following a brief outage caused by a cyberattack targeting the country’s fuel distribution system.

Local news agencies reported on Tuesday that long queues that had been formed in front of gas stations in large Iranian cities had cleared up after Oil Ministry authorities dispatched teams to the forecourts to enable offline fuel delivery.

Iran’s National Virtual Space Center also issued a statement confirming that a cyberattack had targeted the online fuel delivery system in the country.

“Related departments are working to fix the problem and fuel delivery services will return to normal within the next few hours,” said the statement.

The National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company had earlier avoided referring to the disruption in gas stations as a result of a cyberattack.

Iran has been using an online system to ration subsidized fuel since November 2019 when the government ordered a series of price hikes for gasoline and diesel.

Under the system, motorists are entitled to 60 liters of gasoline per month at a price of 15,000 rials ($0.054).  

The system is aimed at optimizing the use of fuel in Iran and preventing its smuggling into neighboring countries where prices are much higher.

Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Tuesday dismissed reports that the government plans price hikes for gasoline.

He said motorists across the country will be able to fill up their tanks on the unsubsidized price of 30,000 rials per liter until gas stations are connected to the online fuel delivery system.

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