In parallel to its increasing repression, the Iranian regime is secretly expanding its war against the people in many fields. On September 1, the state-run news agency Tasnim wrote that the regime’s Ministry of Oil has reduced the gasoline quota by 30 thousand rials from 250 liters per month to 150 liters per car.
At the same time, other media outlets are discussing the regime’s decision-making process to approve the so-called ‘protection plan of Internet users’.
In an article on September 7, the state-run Shargh daily wrote, “All the activists in the field of communication and media have written about the so-called protection plan, and every time the government officials emphasized that there is no such thing. But what is now happening is a protection plan implemented in secrecy and silently. In fact, we are facing the pieces of a bigger puzzle, where each part of it is being approved in a calm atmosphere, and by putting the pieces of this puzzle together, the ‘protection plan’ is gradually completed.”
They added, “We were in a space where we did not know that the peaceful days of not being aware of the implementation of the protection plan is like being in a container of cold water that is gradually warming up. Every day we struggle less, the water is becoming warmer and finally, the puzzle is being completed.”
As predicted and revealed, all the regime’s actions, like disrupting and slowing down the country’s internet, activating the child safety lock in google, and decreasing the internet quality, were all the prologue decisions to implement its protection plan, which is a plan to disconnect the people from the international community, especially prevent them to get in contact with the Iranian resistance.
Internet filtering has now become one of the main priorities of the regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi. Mohamad Keshvari, one of the regime’s IT experts, wrote on his Twitter account, “In a part of the plan known as the protection plan (based on the 9th edition of January, called the regulatory system), which included the members and authorities of the Supreme Regulatory Commission and was referred to the Supreme Council of Cyberspace for approval, was approved by this council and is to be implemented.”
He added, “In this way, the Supreme Regulatory Commission plays a completely different role with a new composition of members and duties in the position of ‘regulator of regulators’ of cyberspace.”
The regime was in such a hurry to implement this plan, they decided to ignore their constitution. Forming a commission that the role of the ‘regulator of the regulators’ gives Raisi’s government the freedom, “to plan and manage the setting of policies, monitoring, directing, coordinating, and approving regulations,” as the state-run Etemad daily wrote in their September 6 publication.
In fact, the formation of this regulatory commission is a prelude to the full implementation of the internet censorship and protection plan.
The regime’s media is trying to minimize the consequences of this plan, with the main victim being the loss of internet businesses and the regime’s exclusion from the global digital club, but the fact is that the issue has the security priority of the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Whether someone believes it or not, he greatly fears his regime’s demise.
On September 6, the state-run news agency YJC expressed this fear, and regarding the regime’s main concern, which is the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), they wrote that after coming to Albania, the MEK “changed their activity method. In the last decade, especially after the 2009 conspiracy (2009 protests), they have turned to cyber and war media activities, and in recent years, with the significant growth of social networks, they have made this platform the main place of their activities against the Islamic Republic.”
The YJC agency further explained, “They get active in any field where it is possible to enter, for example, in the protests of 2017 or 2019, except field activity, they were the mainstay of the protest accounts, and they have tried to change the path of the protests with a violent character and at the same time recruit members.”
They finally added, “The [MEK] continuously seek to ruin the picture of the leader of the revolution and the institutions attributed to him.”
Khamenei thinks that in the age of information explosion, by blocking the Internet, the country’s critical situation can be diverted from maturing into nationwide uprisings. Experience has shown that increasing repression will only lead to harsher reactions by the people and finally, a social explosion.