728 x 90

Iran’s regime gets ready for clampdown on social media

Protests in Gonbad Kavus, Golestan province, March 2021
Protests in Gonbad Kavus, Golestan province, March 2021

Analyzing by PMOI/MEK

Iran, March 26, 2021—Gholamreza Jalali, the commander of the Iranian regime’s Civil Defense Organization, warned on Thursday, “Cyberspace, like other technologies, has both opportunities and threats. Failure to control the cyberspace is a great injustice and will hand it over it to the enemy to carry out various information operations in the conditions of economic war.” (Source: ISNA news agency)

Jalali’s comments tie in with those made by other regime officials who are increasingly worried about the role of social media in organizing protests and anti-regime activities.

Ali Malek Shahkoohi, the IRGC commander in Golestan province, warned on Thursday, “The [regime’s] sworn opponents and enemies tried to divide and create insecurity in the province through social networks and cyberspace and their internal agents by abusing the Gonbad incident.”

“All people should consider the law as the last word; we should not hesitate for a moment in dealing with the enemies! Preservation of the Islamic system is considered obligatory,” Shahkoohi added.

Shahkoohi’s remarks came on the heels of a large protest rally in the city of Gonbad Kavus following a security agent raped two young girls. The outraged people of the city took to the street and protested the regime’s repression and clashed with security forces.

The families of two seven- and eight-year-old girls had filed a judicial complaint and pressed charges of rape against the security guard. In response the regime’s public prosecutor in Gonbad Kavus claimed “the forensics report has denied any sign of rape” and said the accused security guard has been summoned and after questioning has been charged with “kidnapping.”

 

 

According to different studies, Iran is among the top-ten countries with the worst internet censorship regimes. All major social media networks are banned in Iran and people can only access them through virtual private networks and other censorship circumvention tools. The regime also regularly cuts off internet to prevent news of protests from spreading across the world.

In the past year, despite increasing repressive measures, protests have continued throughout the year and the people continue to use whatever communication means they have to organize and gather for protest movements.

On March 21, in his Nowruz address, regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for more control on social media “In our country, some take pride in not controlling the cyberspace, but this should be no cause to be proud of,” Khamenei said.

Following Khamenei’s remarks, Hossein Salami, the top-commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), said on March 23, said that the IRGC will restore control over cyberspace.

“We will implement the leadership’s will,” Salami said.