Fiery Trump lashes Iran’s ‘corrupt dictatorship’ at UN

US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2017

Fiery Trump lashes Iran’s ‘corrupt dictatorship’ at UN

JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time Tuesday, saying Iran’s government is a corrupt dictatorship disguised as a democracy.
Tehran “has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos,” Trump said. “The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, Iranian people.”
He added that Tehran uses its resources and oil profits to fund Hezbollah and other terrorist groups that kill innocent Muslims and attack peaceful Arab states.
“This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iranian people, also goes to shore up (Syrian President) Bashar Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East,” Trump said.
He added that the world cannot let Tehran continue these destabilizing activities while building ballistic missiles, and cannot abide by the nuclear deal if it provides cover for an eventual nuclear program.
“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Trump said. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States.”
He added that Iran must stop supporting terrorists, start serving its own people and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
He said Tehran’s support for terrorism is in stark contrast to recent commitments by many of its neighbors to combat terrorism and its financing.
“In Saudi Arabia… I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations,” said Trump.
“We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.”
He added that the US cannot allow terrorism and extremism to tear up “our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology.”
He said the US is working with its allies throughout the Middle East to crush terrorists and stop the re-emergence of safe havens that they use to launch attacks against innocents.
Speaking about recent setbacks to Daesh, Trump said in Syria and Iraq, there has been major progress toward the terrorist group’s lasting defeat.
Over the Syrian crisis, he said: “We seek the de-escalation of the conflict and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people.”
“The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shocked the conscience of every decent person.” He added that no society could be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to proliferate.
Trump referred to North Korea’s leader as “rocket man,” and described him as being on “a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the US finds itself “forced to defend itself or its allies.”
He added: “No one has shown more contempt for other nations, and for the well-being of their own people, than the depraved regime in North Korea. It’s responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans.”

Cybersecurity firm: More Iran hacks as US sanctions loom

Alister Shepherd, the director of a subsidiary of FireEye, during a presentation about the APT33 in Dubai Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 20 September 2018

Cybersecurity firm: More Iran hacks as US sanctions loom

  • The firm warns that this raises the danger level ahead of America re-imposing crushing sanctions on Iran’s oil industry in early November.
  • Iran’s mission to the UN rejected FireEye’s report, calling it “categorically false.”

DUBAI: An Iranian government-aligned group of hackers launched a major campaign targeting Mideast energy firms and others ahead of US sanctions on Iran, a cybersecurity firm said Tuesday, warning further attacks remain possible as America reimposes others on Tehran.

While the firm FireEye says the so-called “spear-phishing” email campaign only involves hackers stealing information from infected computers, it involves a similar type of malware previously used to inject a program that destroyed tens of thousands of terminals in Saudi Arabia.

The firm warns that this raises the danger level ahead of America re-imposing crushing sanctions on Iran’s oil industry in early November.

“Whenever we see Iranian threat groups active in this region, particularly in line with geopolitical events, we have to be concerned they might either be engaged in or pre-positioning for a disruptive attack,” Alister Shepherd, a director for a FireEye subsidiary, told The Associated Press.

Iran’s mission to the UN rejected FireEye’s report, calling it “categorically false.”

“Iran’s cyber capabilities are purely defensive, and these claims made by private firms are a form of false advertising designed to attract clients,” the mission said in a statement. “They should not be taken at face value.”

FireEye, which often works with governments and large corporations, refers to the group of Iranian hackers as APT33, an acronym for “advanced persistent threat.” APT33 used phishing email attacks with fake job opportunities to gain access to the companies affected, faking domain names to make the messages look legitimate. Analysts described the emails as “spear-phishing” as they appear targeted in nature.

FireEye first discussed the group last year around the same time. This year, the company briefed journalists after offering presentations to potential government clients in Dubai at a luxury hotel and yacht club on the man-made, sea-horse-shaped Daria Island.

While acknowledging their sales pitch, FireEye warned of the danger such Iranian government-aligned hacking groups pose. Iran is believed to be behind the spread of Shamoon in 2012, which hit Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Qatari natural gas producer RasGas. The virus deleted hard drives and then displayed a picture of a burning American flag on computer screens. Saudi Aramco ultimately shut down its network and destroyed over 30,000 computers.

A second version of Shamoon raced through Saudi government computers in late 2016, this time making the destroyed computers display a photograph of the body of 3-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, who drowned fleeing his country’s civil war.

But Iran first found itself as a victim of a cyberattack. Iran developed its cyber capabilities in 2011 after the Stuxnet computer virus destroyed thousands of centrifuges involved in Iran’s contested nuclear program. Stuxnet is widely believed to be an American and Israeli creation.

APT33’s emails haven’t been destructive. However, from July 2 through July 29, FireEye saw “a by-factors-of-10 increase” in the number of emails the group sent targeting their clients, Shepherd said.