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NATO ‘in no position’ to accuse Iran of cyber-attack: Embassy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A view of Iran's diplomatic mission in Brussels (via Twitter)

Iran’s embassy in Brussels has condemned a recent anti-Iranian statement issued by NATO, saying the Western military alliance is in no position to accuse Tehran given its support for those who have waged cyber-attacks against the Islamic Republic in the past.

In a Friday statement a copy of which was published on its Twitter account, the Iranian diplomatic mission "categorically" rejected the "baseless accusations."

"NATO and its Members not only kept silent on cyber-attacks against Iran's infrastructural and nuclear facilities but also directly or indirectly had aided and abetted these acts of cyber sabotage," said the mission. "They have no standing to level such accusations against Iran."

"As a target country and victim of cyber-attacks on its critical infrastructure by NATO allies and partners, the Islamic Republic of Iran rejects and condemns any use of cyber space for attacking other countries," read the statement.

The diplomatic mission condemned NATO and its allies for becoming a "safe haven" for the anti-Iranian terrorist organization MKO. "NATO and its allies, claiming to fight international terrorism, have turned a blind eye on the fact that a terrorist cult has found a safe haven in NATO member countries, turning them into operational headquarters to launch the widest imaginable spectrum of malicious acts against Iran."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran calls on NATO member countries to match words by deeds, and refrain from harboring or supporting terrorist groups in their territories."

NATO's statement attributed the responsibility for an alleged cyber-attack against Albania to "the Government of Iran" without providing any tangible evidence. Voicing support for Albania as a member state, NATO also vowed to strengthen the south European country's cyber defense capabilities.

"We will continue raising our guard against such malicious cyber activities in the future, and support each other to deter, defend against and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats, including by considering possible collective responses," read NATO's statement.

Albania severed diplomatic ties with Iran on Wednesday, claiming Tehran has been behind a cyber-attack against the country's infrastructure. "This extreme response... is fully proportionate to the gravity and risk of the cyber-attack that threatened to paralyze public services, erase digital systems, and hack into state records, steal government intranet electronic communication, and stir chaos and insecurity in the country," Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama said in a video message.

Albania soon received support from the United States, which called for Iran to be “held accountable for this unprecedented cyber incident.”

"We join in Prime Minister Rama’s call for Iran to be held accountable for this unprecedented cyber incident," the US National Security Council stated in a tweet.

US sanctions Iran Intelligence Ministry, minister

Later on Friday, Washington imposed sanctions on Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and its minister, accusing them of being engaged in the July cyber-attack

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kana'ani had slammed Tirana's decision to cut ties with Tehran as “shortsighted.” He also termed allegations leveled against Tehran "baseless" and "unsubstantiated", blaming it on "third parties."

The spokesperson identified as "third parties" the United States, the Israeli regime, and the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which, he said, have propelled Tirana into taking such a decision.

The MKO, an anti-Iran terrorist group, has been hosted by Albania since 2016. Albania took in around 3,000 members of the terrorist group at the request of Washington, after the group was disowned by Iraq and snubbed by many European countries.

The anti-Iran terrorist group has carried out numerous acts of terrorism on Iranian soil since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, killing senior political leaders, clerics and ordinary civilians.

The European Union, Canada, the United States, and Japan had listed the MKO as a "terrorist organization." In 2012, the group was taken off the US list of terrorist organizations. The EU followed the suit, removing the group from its list of terrorist organizations.

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