Analysis by PMOI/MEK
March 5, 2019 - Fear of the free flow of information in cyberspace has been giving the mullahs of Iran some sleepless nights in recent months and there isn’t a day that official pundits don’t complain about the dangers of it.
On March 1, in Tehran’s Friday prayer leader Ali Movahedi-Kermani expressed his fears of the cyberspace and said: “Why is the domestication of the cyberspace still not implemented? The continuous activity of Telegram messaging app while it results in the hegemony of foreigners and undermines beliefs is religiously forbidden according to the Quran’s text.”
“An unbridled cyberspace results in a disjunctive generation. Why are false heroes created in the cyberspace?” Movahedi-Kermani said, showing his fears about a new generation of young and educated Iranians.
“Under the current conditions, Telegram has the following dangers: Disrupting the national unity and creating discord among the society’s classes, [and] distributing lies and disturbing the peace of the public mind,” he further said and concluded: “I hope that the concerned officials wake up.”
Mir Ahmadreza Hajati, the temporary Friday prayer Imam of Ahvaz said: “Authorities should be wary of the enemy’s infiltration… While the Supreme Leader has issued clear orders, the lack of organization and management of the cyberspace is among the faults and problems.”
Habibi, a commander in the Islamic Republic’s Air Force says: “Today, the enemy has entered our homes through the internet, satellite [TV], the cyberspace, and social networks, and is lurking to find an opportunity to hit the country and establishment.”
Hossein Hosseinzadeh, one of the commanders of Isfahan’s state police, tried to scare Iranian internet users and says: “The [Iranian] cyber-police is vigilantly and meticulously monitoring the cyberspace and based on that, many gangs of criminals in the Isfahani cyberspace have been detained.”
On the other hand, Jafar Sobhani, a mullah from the ruling theocracy, acknowledges that they are not able to shut down the cyberspace and says that the solution is in a more tightly monitored internet: “Like the presence of police forces on roads to prevent violations, letting the cyberspace free is never in our interest and there should be agents to control it.”
Abbas Abdi, one of the iconic figures of the so-called reformist faction in Iran, responded to their opponents’ attacks and tweeted: “The coordinated attacks against Telegram and the management of the internet infrastructure on Friday proves a few things. First, they don’t learn their lessons from the immediate and blatant defeat of filtering. Second, they are scraping the bottom of the barrel, and third, they are desperate. Like a drowning man, they will clutch at a straw.”
The regime’s Friday Prayer Imams’ statements show clearly that the Islamic Republic’s fear of the cyberspace is based on two things:
- The fundamental pillars of their backward philosophy are targeted in cyberspace and more and more ordinary Iranians are distancing themselves from the Islamic Republic’s ideology. An ideology which the Iranian regime previously had a monopoly on describing and broadcasting propaganda about.
- Disrupting the regime’s security by advocating for the idea of regime change.
On February 22, Abbasali Moghisi, Nahavand’s Friday Prayer Imam, expressed his fears of PMOI/MEK members’ activities in cyberspace and said: “Today, the weapon that can destroy the revolution is the keyboard and the cyberspace that is available to PMOI members. They republish negative news ten and hundreds of times but censor positive news.”
It’s just ridiculously unbelievable how a regime with all its propaganda machine and control and censorship apparatus can’t take some opposing views in the cyberspace.
That is how fragile the Iranian regime is.