Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Admits Email Hack

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has blamed an unnamed “foreign country” for stealing and leaking sensitive internal emails – an operation which an Iranian hacktivist group earlier claimed responsibility for.

The Black Reward group posted the AEOI documents online after failing to extort Tehran into releasing political prisoners.

An English translation published here claims the data leak was done in the name of Mehsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian who died after being arrested by morality police for wearing her headscarf ‘incorrectly.’ Her death in September triggered a wave of violent protests against the hard-line regime, which continue to this day.

Black Reward claims the trove of documents includes nuclear development contracts and agreements with foreign partners, construction and logistics plans related to nuclear industries, passport and visa details of Iranian and Russian specialists working in the Bushehr power plant, and technical and operational reports.

If legitimate, they’re likely to be pored over by Western intelligence agencies and journalists.

Predictably, the AEOI tried to play down the significance of the incident, blaming it not on local hacktivists but “unauthorized access from a specific foreign country.”

“It should be noted that the content in users’ emails contains technical messages and common and current daily exchanges,” it said (via Google Translate) in a brief statement confirming the hack.

“It is obvious that the purpose of such illegal efforts, which are carried out out of desperation, is to attract public attention, create media atmospheres and psychological operations, and lack any other value.”

The incident is likely to pour more fuel onto the fire of one of the biggest popular uprisings in Iran since the current regime swept to power in 1979. 

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