Iran could more aggressively undermine US allies through “cyber attacks, subversion, and terrorism” once its has a nuclear deal and international sanctions are lifted, retired Gen James L. Jones, Jr., said April 8.
World powers—the so-called P5+1 that includes the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China, and Germany—reached a framework agreement with Iran earlier this month that limits Tehran’s nuclear program in return for phased sanctions relief.
“Whether or not you like the P5+1 framework with Iran, no one will claim that it will solve all the problems in the Middle East or even resolve the mistrust and tensions between Iran and the United States and our allies, certainly not overnight,” Jones, who is Chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and served as National Security Advisor in the Obama administration, said at an Atlantic Council Cyber Risk Wednesday series event that focused on the Iranian cyber threat.
A framework nuclear agreement “could actually enflame risk of major cyber conflict in the region,” he said, and with many obstacles still in the way of it becoming an actual deal “if the agreement fails, tensions are certain to escalate and with them the chances of broader escalation.”
Jones said it was possible that nervous US allies in the region may use their own cyber capabilities against Iran.
Neal Pollard, Director, Forensics Technology Practice, at PricewaterhouseCoopers, introduced Jones.
Following Jones’ remarks a panel discussed the cyber threat posed by Iran.
Barbara Slavin, Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center; Andretta Towner, Senior Intelligence Analyst at CrowdStrike; and JD Work, Research Director at the Cyber Conflict Documentation Project, were on the panel. Paul Kurtz, CEO at TruSTAR Technology, moderated the discussion.