Over the past weeks, the Iranian regime has been struck by several severe cyber and public information services disruptions. Since then, the regime has tried to minimize the impact of these disruptions on its legitimacy and cyber capability, and it has to desperately find a way to prevent them in the future, on the other.
To this end, in an interview with the state-run website Khabar Fori on February 13, 2022, Mohsen Momeni Rad one of the architects of the regime’s censorship plan called the cyberspace protection plan, emphasized that the regime insists on implementing this plan. “If a foreign service does not formalize its activities in Iran, we will deal with it, considering how harmful its activities are. We have requests from Instagram; For example, establish an office here or accept policies and differences,” he said.
While the regime is fully aware that this plan is like shooting itself in the foot due to the threat of the increasing people’s discontent, it has no other choice in confronting the rapidly growing popularity of its main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
This threat and consequently the regime’s fear has been reflected by its media over the past weeks. An article published by the state-run daily Donya-e Eghtesad on February 12, 2022, quoted the remarks by IRGC Major General Mohammad (Esmaeel) Kosari, a member of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, who previously served as Commander of the 27th Mohammad Rasulallah Brigade, as saying, “Khamenei had issued the necessary warnings about the issue of hacking under the previous government. Because global arrogance has dealt a heavy blow to the Islamic Republic’s system, they are using weak, mercenary individuals within the system to obtain information to confront the Islamic Republic.
“To those who cooperate with the MEK and the enemies of the Islamic Republic, I must say that we will do something to make these people regret what they have done. The leadership has defined the policy and we will no longer be on defense. Henceforth, we will go on the offensive.”
Khamenei’s official website quoted an expert on February 12, 2022, as saying, “If we see today that the Mojahedin Khalq Organization has closed all its activities and focused on the use of social networks, it is because it knows its destructive power. Today, the destructive impact of a message or a clip of a few minutes is far greater than that of several bombs and missiles.
“Today, we are under heavy attack via the media propaganda of the enemies of the revolution. The enemy’s modus operandi is two-fold: first, distorting the facts and presenting incorrect statistics and incorrect comparisons of the country’s situation with other countries in the world. Second, the reckless and unrestrained use of cyberspace and social space is (to) discourages people toward the system. The enemy has attacked not only the history of the revolution but also the history of the eight-year war.”