US officials offered Iranian engineer cash to take down Tehran’s power grid
Story Code : 783612
Narwani revealed on Thursday that the engineer, a friend of hers whom she did not name for security reasons, was approached twice by “US State Department employees” following Iran's 2009 post-election unrest and was offered $250,000 to carry out the operation.
The agents allegedly described the operation as “very simple”, demanding that the engineer goes to a specific area in Tehran and apply a specific code in a communication device during his upcoming trip to the city.
The engineer, however, allegedly declined to carry out the operation and ultimately notified Narwani in 2010.
Speaking to Narwani, the engineer had also expressed shock that US officials knew of his planned trip to Tehran and also knew that he was “cash-strapped" at the time.
Narwani explained her initial acquaintance with the Iranian engineer by saying that she and her Iranian-American husband "ran an internet company in the telecommunications industry in Washington years ago and I was a founding member of the Iranian-American Technology Council."
The journalist further wrote that she discussed the matter with "a colleague with an engineering background" who explained that the code could have been used to hack or deactivate power grids "governed by electronic or computer systems."
"You don’t have to physically be there if you can hack into it, but that’s of course harder. If they (the Americans) needed to have someone physically there during the sabotage attempt, it probably means they didn’t have remote access to the system,” the engineer added.
Narwani said that she sought to publicize the revelations after news spread about similar suspected sabotage operations targeting Venezuela's power grid this month.
Last week, an overheating incident knocked out Venezuela's main hydroelectric dam, causing a widespread and ongoing electrical blackout, affecting 23 of the country’s 24 states.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of masterminding a “demonic” plot to destroy his country and force him from power by waging an “electromagnetic attack".
The heightening tension comes as opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January, vowing to topple Maduro.
The US has openly backed Guaido, imposing economic sanctions on Venezuela and confiscating the country's state oil assets based in the US to channel them to Guaido.
Narwani, along with other Middle East pundits, have raised the prospect that the attacks on critical Venezuelan infrastructure may be related to an adoption of an earlier plan developed under the administration of former US president George W. Bush against Iran.
Known by its code-name “Nitro Zeus,” the New York Times first published details about the plan in 2016, claiming that the program sought to target Iranian electrical, communication and defense systems.
The report also claimed that the Obama administration had "seriously" considered carrying out the plan if nuclear negotiations with Iran at the time had failed.
Narwani believes details revealed to her by the mentioned Iranian-American engineer may have been part of the alleged sabotage program.
Israel and the US have been conducting numerous acts of sabotage targeting the Iranian people and the county's critical infrastructure over the past years.
In 2011, the US and Israel conducted a cyber attack against the Iranian nuclear energy program.
Reporting the incident a year later, The Washington Post said the US National Security Agency (NSA), its spy service CIA, and Israel’s military had worked together to launch a malware dubbed Stuxnet against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Iran also claims the Israeli regime assassinated four of its nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012.
The US, under President Donald Trump, along with its regional allies, has also sought to weaken Iran by imposing strict sanctions on the country and inciting unrest in the country.
In a public speech in December, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stated that the US had, however, failed to achieve its objectives.
Ayatollah Khamenei stated that the Iranian nation has to remain vigilant as the US may seek similar plans in the upcoming year, despite its previously failed attempts.