Iranian airline mysteriously hit by cyberattack

Mahan Air plane (

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran’s private Mahan Air airline was disrupted by a cyberattack on November 21, Iranian state media reported.

Mahan Air customers around the country reported receiving text messages from a group calling itself Hoosyarane-Vatan (Observants of the Fatherland), which claimed responsibility for the attack because of the airline’s purported ties to the paramilitary Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The airline said none of its flights were affected, although the company’s website was down.

The United States Treasury Department in 2011 sanctioned Mahan Air for allegedly “providing financial, material, and technological support for the [IRGC’s] elite Quds Force.” The department also accused Mahan Air of transporting weapons, goods, and personnel to Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.

The Mahan Air cyberattack was the latest in a string of cyberattacks in Iran, including one in October that target gas stations nationwide. President Ebrahim Raisi blamed that attack on unspecified anti-Iranian forces seeking to destabilize the country.

An earlier cyberattack caused the delay or cancellation of scores of trains throughout Iran.