On the eve of November 2019, when nationwide protests ignited following gas price hikes, some Iranians hacked the advertising billboards in some cities to remember this event. At the time, the regime killed more than 1,500 people to quell citizens’ peaceful protest.
On Tuesday, October 26, the ISNA news agency quoted Humayun Salehi, head of Iran’s Fuel Stationers Association, as saying that a cyberattack on Iranian gas stations had been launched. The news agency immediately deleted the report without explanation.
State media and social media reported the cessation of gasoline distribution at fuel stations across the country because of what they refer to as ‘disruption’ to the smart fuel system.
Meanwhile, pictures and videos on social media of digital billboards installed in Tehran and other cities have been published showing that the billboards, questioning, ‘Where is our gasoline Khamenei?’ a reference to countrywide protests inflamed to the sudden increase in gasoline prices in November 2019.
In this context, the ISNA news agency wrote on Tuesday: “Photos from Isfahan show that digital billboards in the city have been cyber-attacked and the message of ‘Free gasoline in Jamaran gas station’ and ‘Khamenei where is our gasoline?’ has been seen on them.” After only a few minutes, the news was removed from the website of ISNA.
Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), also echoed the event. “Field surveys and public reports to the news agency indicate ‘technical problems in the fuel system’ and that ‘petrol stations in most parts of the country have been interrupted and disrupted in service,” Tasnim wrote.
Ali Forouzandeh, a spokesman for the regime’s Oil Ministry, also acknowledged the ‘disruption’ and said, “the technical problem with the fuel card system interrupted the fueling process, but people can use gasoline at free station rates as before.”
Forouzandeh also claimed that the National Distribution Company had removed the smart system from the circle due to this disruption.
This billboard reads:
"Khamenei! Where is our gasoline?"
Reminder: Iran witnessed a massive nationwide uprising in November 2019 as the regime increased fuel prices. pic.twitter.com/cGgDPVmzdv
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) October 26, 2021
In a message, the regime’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said: “The disruption in the provision of services at some petrol stations is due to a technical and systemic problem and will be resolved soon. There are no plans for increasing gasoline prices.”
The telegram channel Eslahat Press quotes Tejarat News as saying cyberattack on petrol stations confirmed.
“The president of the Stationers Association confirmed the cyberattack on gas stations throughout the country, saying the problem is being investigated. It is not possible to refuel at many petrol stations from an hour ago.
“Salehi, president of the Fuel Stationers Association, said the reason for the problem was a cyberattack on the gasoline supply system throughout the country. The smart fuel system is generally disconnected. This issue is being investigated, and a meeting will be held.”
This channel added: “Contradictory news about the possibility of free refueling in fuel stations despite the announcement by the General Directorate of Public Relations of the Ministry of Petroleum about the disruption of the smart fuel system, that claimed that refueling was in place at supply stations throughout the country.”
The News Channel reporter said: “It is not possible to refuel freely at Velenjak gas station, and the station official refused to be interviewed.”
In a statement, the regime’s Oil Ministry hastily said that refueling is in place at supply stations, and people can refuel at free gasoline prices.
This notification said: “The use of fuel cards in supply stations throughout the country has been interrupted since a few minutes ago following technical problems created in the fuel smart card system. However, according to the information obtained by the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company, there is no problem with refueling in the supply stations. Despite the ejection of the smart fuel system from the circuit, people can refuel at a free price.”
Noor News, affiliated with the regime’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), confirmed the news of the cyberattack on the refueling system at gas stations. “A cyberattack caused the disruption of the refueling system at the gas stations, which has caused problems in the refueling process of vehicles since the previous hours,” the website wrote.