Regime Expresses Growing Concern over MEK’s Use of Social Media
Officials within the Iranian regime are showing their increasing discomfort over the influence of social media in Iran. In recent months a number of high-ranking officials within the regime, including regime Presidentو Hassan Rouhani have expressed their fear that social media could be used by the MEK and Iranian Resistance to rise up against the mullahs.
The most recent official to comment on social media’s role in the growing protest movement in Iran is regime Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri. In an interview with the Fars News Agency, which is linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), he said, “Why should we be witnessing so much crime and sin in our society? The numbers are terrifying and this should be a warning to our officials. My messages are to those who can cleanse [social media], even if its 50 percent lesser. In the past ten months alone, cyberspace crimes and computer-based crimes have increased by 140 percent.”
"These days we are witnessing how the children of these loyal individuals and insiders are literally drowned in cyberspace platforms heavily influenced by the [PMOI/MEK] and are not aware of this reality.”#Iran#IranRegimeChangehttps://t.co/82giyLZQ91
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) February 25, 2019
Montazeri’s comments follow a series of similar remarks by regime officials. Their words invoke scare tactics that vilify the free exchange of information and set the stage for further crackdowns on social media usage and more extreme censorship of the Internet.
“Our authorities should know what a disgraceful atmosphere has been created in our society,” Montazeri went on to say.”Pay a visit to the Anti-Computer Crime Department. Who is responsible for all this?”
Javad Javeed-Nia, the regime’s Deputy Prosecutor General in Cyberspace Affairs also spoke about the role of the Internet in changing people’s minds about issues. This is a deep concern for the regime, which relies heavily on propaganda.
Javeed-Nia said, “90 percent of the country’s cyberspace is controlled by foreigners and their main objective is to change the society’s tendencies and tastes. Everyone should react strongly through a planned process to the measures of our enemies and the [People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)].
“Considering the fact that our enemies have established cyber armies against the [mullahs’ regime], those who care about our state must launch a media campaign against the enemy, identify the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, and place forward an adequate analysis,” Javeed-Nia continued. “In a study conducted last year, the aggressive content published in Instagram on a daily basis was very extensive.”
The MEK’s Use of Telegram
The state-run Tehran Press news agency acknowledged that the MEK’s use of social media platforms, particularly Telegram, has left the regime unable to suppress the Resistance. “Considering the specific type of our culture, we have not been able to surpass the enemy in regards to cyberspace,” it said. “In fact, we have been very behind and continuously suffered heavy attacks. I can dare to say that the enemy, especially the [PMOI/MEK] organization, is in control of the Telegram platform. For those who should be familiar with this organization’s tactics, these remarks are not exaggerations at all and are in fact a reflection of our status quo.”
The state-run news agency continued:
“If not 100 percent, the mentality of toppling [the regime], seen very active today in social media platforms, is very much influenced by the literature and terms of overthrowing that is used very vividly by the [PMOI/MEK]. This culture and vocabulary are witnessed in most Telegram groups, including political groups and even social groups. We may not believe it that many of the so-called principalists groups, those who appear to be loyal to the [regime], are not safe from the influence of this organization’s hypocritical culture. This is the mysterious and low-profile ruling state that continues to be active even in the homes of our senior officials. These days we are witnessing how the children of these loyal individuals and insiders are literally drowned in cyberspace platforms heavily influenced by the [PMOI/MEK] and are not aware of this reality.”
Social media has changed the landscape of the revolution. The mullahs no longer control access to information, and the information is power. The people of Iran are closer to freedom than ever now, and the regime and its officials can no longer deny this fact.