The plan called ‘protection of the internet users’ has been become one of the main subjects mentioned by Iran’s state media. There are concerns by the people that the government would immediately implement it in silence if there were no noise about it in the media.
Therefore, it is worth speaking and write about this subject frequently, to keep the pressure on the Iranian regime, to prevent it from the repression of the people’s last hope.
The regime has decided to execute such a plan in the situation whereby, according to the statistics given by the government, the internet penetration in the society is about 94 percent and about 83 percent of the people are connected to the internet and run their lives and businesses with this system.
This plan is so dangerous even for the regime that many of the officials are warning government leaders not to implement such a plan.
As the state-run daily Aftab on September 8, 2021, quoting the regime’s Deputy Minister of Social Affairs and Crime Prevention, wrote:
“As for the protection plan, I believe that what happened is, we had a story before we laid the groundwork and had a good conversation about it, and it was strongly promoted against it, and now the space is so poisoned that it has made it hard to talk about it.
“If we say we shouldn’t do anything for cyberspace, that’s not going to happen anywhere in the world. The design of this issue was not good for public opinion and a strange concern has been raised in the public, and whatever the authorities, designers, and supporters of this plan now say they not to have a blocking debate, but in this poisonous atmosphere no one accepts them.”
About restrictions raised in the work field, the state-run daily Mostaghel on September 12, 2021, wrote: “It imposes restrictions on those who work in the fields of news and media, and a form of public censorship is imposed, causing everyone to become self-censoring. In the next stage, it is the interruption for small businesses that disrupt the middle classes and even the lower classes. This is not a protection plan, but a plan to limit and impede people’s access to information and transparency of governance.”
This plan is so unpleasant for the public that the regime was forced to speak about and approve it in a closed session of the parliament because they have feared the people’s protests.
What people are fearing is not the planning self but its executions by the regime’s repressive forces such as the Revolutionary Guard, the Basij, and the regime’s infamous intelligence service – forces that are not answerable to anyone but the Supreme Leader and that have enough power to play outside the observations of the three branches.
There is no doubt that the purpose of this plan is the regime’s fear about any upcoming protests in which the Internet and the social media have played the key to awareness, free and fast information release.
If the regime decides to execute this plan, people will use VPNs and other tools much more than before to break this barrier.
“There are 40 million filter breakers on people’s phones, which are malware that endangers the security of the country.” (State-run news site Shafaghna, September 8, 2021)
Iran’s people have previously overcome many of the regimes’ suppressive plans such as the prohibition of satellite dishes and satellite TV. According to Iran experts, this time the same will happen, and it will increase the people’s distrust, which has become the regime’s main concern, especially after the election of Ebrahim Raisi.