AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Government-backed Iranian hackers have targeted universities in Europe, the United States and Australia in recent months, consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers has found, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported on Friday.

It is unclear whether the attempts to break into computer systems, including those of three Dutch universities, were successful.

The hackers were attempting to steal academic literature and course material to use in Iranian schools, the NOS said, citing PricewaterhouseCoopers' cyber security specialist Gerwin Naber.

Diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Iran have been strained since the Dutch accused Tehran of plotting two political killings in the country that triggered new European Union sanctions against Tehran last year.

Tehran has denied involvement in the shooting of the Iranian dissidents in the Netherlands.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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