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updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

The hacking collective Anonymous launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Iranian government websites today (Feb. 11), knocking a few, but not all, offline.

"Operation Iran" was meant to be an online protest of what the group called in a press release “the chains of oppression, tyranny and torture,” but it proved only partly successful as the Iranian sites quickly recovered from the onslaught of fake requests for data.

The website of IRNA, the semi-official Iranian news agency, was dark shortly after noon EST, shortly after the attacks began, but was back up by 4:30.  An attack against the website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad seems to have failed entirely.

Attacks against the website of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayotollah Ali Khamenei began at 12:30, but failed initially to knock it down, as evidenced by the frustration in an Anonymous chat room.

[12:41] leader.ir is down someone to confirm?
[12:41] i dunno how to go for the pvt chat
[12:41] !check leader.ir
[12:41] they hate iran
[12:41] AnonXD: It's just you. http://leader.ir is up.
[12:41] its down ffs
[12:41] there is an automatic switch that is adding bandwidth
[12:41] f***
[12:41] need more power!

Wall postings on the Facebook page " Operation Payback " helped to coordinate the attacks, directing volunteers who'd installed the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) DDoS tool to point it at specific Iranian sites.

The only site that stayed down was http://irib.ir/, the website of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcaster, i.e. state television and radio.

The DDoS attacks coincided with a day of demonstrations, ostensibly to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution but which last year were usurped by anti-government protesters.

The pro-democracy "Green Movement" plans protests for Monday (Feb. 14), both in against their own government and in support of the Egyptian protestors who on Friday succeeded in forcing President Hosni Mubarak to resign.

A YouTube video created by Anonymous to explain the motives behind "Operation Iran" shows violent scenes of revolt and government oppression, while a digitally-modified voice details Anonymous’ mission:

“To the noble people of Iran: We know how great you are. You have been killed, jailed, tortured and silenced by the illegal regime which has hijacked your country for the past 32 years, and yet you still rose up last year against a force that you knew meant ill harm. They may kill one person every eight hours but they can’t your fighting spirit, they can’t kill your freedom. Know that we support you. Know that you are not alone. We are Anonymous, we are legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us.”

In an Anonymous chat room on MiBBiT.com yesterday (Feb. 10), a participant using the screen name “arash” expressed the public sentiment in Iran that is behind the need for a government upheaval similar to the ones occurring in Tunisia and Egypt. (Anonymous hackers launched DDoS attacks on government websites in both countries last month).

“They are the most uncivilized regime in the world, worst [sic] than north korea [sic] and all the Iranians hate them,” arash wrote.

This batch of DDoS attacks comes at what could be considered a precarious time for Anonymous. Yesterday (Feb. 10), a federal grand jury in San Jose, Calif., began collecting evidence — including computers and mobile phones — seized in multistate raids on suspected members of Anonymous.

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