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Trump launches cyber attack on Iran's military computer systems

Trump launches cyber attack on Iran's military computer systems
US President Donald Trump said he believes Iran is looking to make a deal with the United States, amid reports that the US launched a cyber attack on Iran on Thursday.
The attack, which targeted Iranian computers controlling rocket and missiles launchers, was launched in response to the downing of a US surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz earlier on Thursday.
It marks the first known offensive operation by the United States against Iran since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal in May 2018.
US President Donald Trump in an interview said on Sunday that he did not believe Iran was trying to provoke him by shooting down the drone and that the country wants to negotiate and make a deal.
Mr Trump insisted he is "not looking for war" in an interview with broadcaster NBC, and denied he sent a message to Iran warning of an imminent threat.
The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said that "tensions in the Gulf can only be addressed politically," calling for collective action and the participation of regional voices in the process.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres struck a similar tone, calling for "nerves of steel" and saying it is essential to avoid "any form of escalation."
"The world cannot afford a major confrontation the Gulf," Mr Guterres said on the sidelines of a youth conference. "Everybody must keep nerves of steel," he added.
The cyber attacks against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were reported first by Yahoo News and The Washington Post on Saturday and later confirmed by the Associated Press. Both organisations cited anonymous sources. One US official told The National they could not confirm the cyber attack took place.
The reported action by the US Cyber Command was a demonstration of the US's more offensive cyber capabilities under the Trump Administration.
They also represent a world where conflict is increasingly taking place on the digital plane, with real-world outcomes.
Iran stepped up its offensive actions against the United States in recent weeks, AP said, citing cyber security companies CrowdStrike and FireEye.
Iranian hackers reportedly sent waves of spear-phishing emails to US government agencies and sensitive sectors such as finance, oil and gas companies.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday that the United States was "cocked & loaded" for strikes against Iranian targets, but did not consider the estimated 150 people killed to be a proportionate response to the downing of the drone.
Mr Trump said that military action is still an option to reporters on Saturday, but insisted that he is acting with "common sense".
“Everybody was saying I’m a warmonger. And now they say I’m a dove. And I think I’m neither, if you want to know the truth,” Mr Trump said. “I’m a man with common sense. And that’s what we need in this country, is common sense. But I didn’t like the idea of them knowingly shooting down an unmanned drone and then we kill 150 people.”
He also said the United States will place additional sanctions on Iran on Monday, adding to three rounds of sanctions placed on the country since withdrawing from the nuclear deal.
Brian Hook, the US special representative to Iran said he expected "push back" against the latest round of sanctions, but did not specify how that would take place.
“They are going to push back and it is important that the international community does not let Iran get away with the status quo of an acceptable level of violence,” Mr Hook told The National.
Iran fired a surface-to-air missile at the $120 million Global Hawk drone in the Strait of Hormuz, in what Tehran said was their territorial waters, but the Pentagon insists it took place in international airspace and was an "unprovoked attack".
The weekend of retaliation against Iran comes after months of escalation in which Iran has been accused of attacking at least six oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and using a proxy militia in Yemen to launch attacks on Saudi airports and oil institutions.
Renewed tensions started with Mr Trump's decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 which was signed by the permanent five members of the UN Security Council, Germany, the EU and Iran. The deal removed sanctions against Iran in exchange for curtailing its nuclear ambitions. The US says Iran has continued to develop missile technology, something the deal warns against, and funded militias across the Middle East.
Iran has since said it will cease honouring its side of the deal, which limits the quantity and quality of uranium it can enrich. The country's stockpiles are expected to exceed specified limits and enrich uranium to 20 per cent, the level it was operating before the deal and half-way in time to weapons-grade uranium, within weeks.