Municipality of Tirana and Palace of Culture - Albania
Municipality of Tirana and Palace of Culture - AlbaniaiStock

Iran on Wednesday rejected Albania’s accusation that it was behind a cyberattack against its government websites as "baseless" and called Albania's decision to sever diplomatic ties "an ill-considered and short-sighted action", AFP reported.

Albania announced earlier that it had severed diplomatic ties with Iran and expelled the country’s embassy staff after it blamed Iran for a July 15 cyberattack that targeted its government websites.

The government formally announced the move to the Iranian embassy in Tirana with an official letter, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said. All Iranian embassy employees were told to leave the country within 24 hours.

"Iran as one of the target countries of cyberattacks on its critical infrastructure rejects and condemns any use of cyber space as a tool to attack the critical infrastructure of other countries," its foreign ministry said on Wednesday, in response to the Albanian accusations.

The United States scolded Iran over the alleged attack, vowing to provide support to its ally in the Balkans.

"The United States strongly condemns Iran's cyberattack against our NATO ally, Albania," National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

"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," Watson added.

Iran has been targeted by cyberattacks in the past but has also been linked to cyberattacks, including last December when Israeli company Check Point identified no less than seven Iranian attacks on government ministries and large companies in Israel.

In October of 2021, a cyberattack in Iran resulted in disruptions in fuel distribution across the country. Iran's civil defense chief accused Israel and the United States of being the likely culprits behind the cyberattack.