The White House on Wednesday warned of “further action” against Iran as it condemned what it called an “unprecedented” cyberattack against US ally Albania.
“The United States strongly condemns Iran's cyberattack against our NATO Ally, Albania,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement, adding that Iran should be “held accountable.”
“The United States will take further action to hold Iran accountable for actions that threaten the security of a US ally and set a troubling precedent for cyberspace.”
Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama accused Iran of directing a cyberattack against Albanian institutions on July 15 in a bid to “paralyze public services and hack data and electronic communications from the government systems.”
In retaliation, Albania, which joined NATO in 2009, has broken diplomatic relations with Iran.
The incident comes as the United States and European powers struggle to salvage an agreement that would impose strict controls on Iran's controversial nuclear sector in exchange for lifting some sanctions.
Asked whether the United States would support a joint response from NATO, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said invoking collective self-defense through the transatlantic alliance's Article Five requires “multiple processes.”
“NATO allies will make their own sovereign decisions about how to respond to the cyberattacks, including whether to invoke... Article Five,” she said.
“Our role here is to support Albania's efforts to hold Iran accountable and to work with Albania to strengthen its cybersecurity.”