Iranian official: President Rouhani's cellphone tapped 'recently'

Senior official charged with fighting sabotage also says that Iran recently neutralised a new version of Stuxnet.

    Rouhani's phone will be replaced with a more secure device, Iranian officials said [File: EPA]
    Rouhani's phone will be replaced with a more secure device, Iranian officials said [File: EPA]

    An Iranian military official has revealed that President Hassan Rouhani's mobile phone was tapped "recently", without providing details on who was behind it or what information was obtained.

    The semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday quoted General Gholam Reza Jalali as saying that Rouhani's phone would be replaced with a more secure device.

    Jalali, who is the head of a military unit charged with combatting sabotage, did not specify when exactly the tapping occurred.

    Iran moved to boost its cyber capabilities in 2011 after the Stuxnet computer virus destroyed thousands of centrifuges involved in its contested nuclear programme.

    Stuxnet is widely believed to be an American and Israeli creation.

    Jalali's revelation comes just a day after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for the stepping up of efforts to fight enemy "infiltration", according to state media.

    "In the face of the enemy's complex practices, our civil defence should ... confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date ... action," Khamenei told civil defence officials, who are in charge of areas including cyber defence.

    The state television report did not give details of the "infiltration" Khamenei was referring to.

    Iranian officials have long warned about Western cultural influences through entertainment, social media and the internet as a threat to Islamic and revolutionary values.

    In recent years, the US and Israel have vowed to counter Tehran's influence in the Middle East. 

    On Sunday, Jalali had also announced that the country had recently neutralised a new version of Stuxnet.

    "Recently we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of several parts ... and was trying to enter our systems," Jalali was quoted by ISNA as saying.

    SOURCE: News agencies