Iran has emerged as a leading cyber threat and has already hacked into the U.S. defense establishment and financial institutions, likely with the help of the Russians, according to a former chairman of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Iran has boosted its cyber capabilities in a “surprisingly” short amount of time and possesses the ability to launch successful cyber attacks on American financial markets and its infrastructure, former Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., told a panel of lawmakers on Tuesday.

The Iranian regime’s emergence as a “world class” cyber threat likely has to do with its close ties to Russia, according to Hoekstra, who warned during a hearing on Iran’s global terror activities that the two countries will only boost coordination on the cyber front in the coming months.

“Iran and Russia will develop a much closer relationship,” said Hoekstra, who was on the House’s intelligence committee from 2001 to 2011. “Russia and Iran have so much to gain from more significant cooperation [and] the immediate impacts will be profound.”

Click for more from the Washington Free Beacon.