US cyberattack 'hurt Iran's ability to target oil tankers'
According to US officials, Iran is still trying to retrieve information destroyed in the 20 June attack on the network used by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, with some of the computer systems still offline.
Senior officials told the New York Times that the attack had degraded Iran's abilities to covertly target ship traffic in the Strait of Harmuz, a vital and heavily trafficked shipping route that has seen multiple attacks on oil tankers in the past months.
Officials said the 20 June cyberstrike was part of an ongoing, unofficial cyber war between Iran and the US, which has pledged to exert "maximum pressure" on the Islamic republic since President Donald Trump took power.
"You need to ensure your adversary understands one message: The United States has enormous capabilities which they can never hope to match, and it would be best for all concerned if they simply stopped their offending actions," Roule said.
While other governments did not accuse Iran of the sabotage attacks on tanker in the Gulf in May and June, the US obtained intelligence indicating the Revolutionary Guards were behind the limpet mine attacks.
The cyberattack came in response to that and the downing of a US spy drone by Iran in June.
According to officials, the attack has limited Iran's ability to perpetrate similar sabotage attacks to the ones in May and June.
However, when the vulnerability that allowed US cyber operatives to gain access to the Revolutionary Guards database is patched, the US will also lose access to vital intelligence on Iran.
Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday to discuss the Iran crisis.
The US has been seeking to form a coalition to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Gulf.
Britain, which already has warships on protection duty in the Gulf after a UK-flagged tanker was seized by the Revolutionary Guards, has said it will join the planned operation.
But other European countries have declined to join, for fear of harming European efforts to rescue a 2015 treaty with Iran over its nuclear programme.