Why Iran’s regime fears the internet

As regime officials in Iran continue to weigh what to do with their “Internet Protection (read censorship) Bill,” there are more voices from inside the mullahs’ ruling apparatus sounding alarm bells about the “enemy’s destructive online presence.”

Experts linked to the regime’s various institutions are interviewed on state TV networks. “The internet is devouring us,” one particular expert said on Monday, April 18, indicating the regime losing control of the anti-regime content available online for the Iranian people.

“The internet is creating security challenges for the state,” said one member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) presidium on Saturday, April 16.

“The PMOI/MEK are in the front lines of the war on the internet,” according to a report wired on Sunday, April 17, by the Fars news agency, an outlet linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), in reference to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

It is worth noting that the mullahs’ regime has allocated massive budgets through the years and launched a massive cyber army network to specifically focus on demonizing the PMOI/MEK. So, the question must be asked: Why all the concern?

The secret to grasping the answer to this question is based on having a correct understanding of the status quo in Iran and the ongoing struggle between the Iranian people and their organized resistance against the mullahs’ regime and their entire crackdown machinery. There has been an ongoing war between these two fronts in the sociopolitical front in Iran, and the outcome will determine the future of Iran and the Iranian people.

As a result, the regime’s concerns are not merely daily propaganda found on the internet. They are, in fact, rooted from facts on the ground, highlighting the undeniable reality that senior regime officials understand very well how the Iranian people are hell-bent on nothing but their overthrow. Hence, all the more reason that their domestic crackdown budget, especially those institutions linked to the IRGC, is increased year after year.

This also explains why the mullahs’ regime, despite the continuing international condemnations, simply lacks any capacity to wind down on its decades-long practice of executions, torture, imprisonment, censorship, and other means of crackdown against an increasingly restive Iranian nation.

 

Looking through such a prism allows us to also further understand why regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei insisted on appointing Ebrahim Raisi as his regime’s president despite the latter being notorious for his role in the summer 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, consisting mostly of PMOI/MEK members and supporters.

The regime needs to control the internet in order to keep a lid on the Iranian society. This is considered a red line for the mullahs especially after a series of nationwide uprisings from 2017 onward, reaching its peak in the November 2019 nationwide protests. Khamenei, seeking to preserve his rule at all costs, saw no other option but ordering the massacre of over 1,500 protesters in a matter of days and impose a total internet shutdown that lasted for several days.

And while the coronavirus provided some breathing room for the mullahs’ regime against the Iranian people’s escalating uprisings, anti-regime measures by the PMOI/MEK and their network of “Resistance Units” across Iran are on the rise yet again.

These brave men and women are risking their lives in their measures targeting the IRGC, Basij, and other pillars of the regime’s crackdown apparatus. This ongoing campaign is not only weakening the regime and demoralizing its rank and file, but also injecting new life in the Iranian people with a lifted spirit of resistance and patriotism.

 

Setting fire to large posters of the regime’s leaders and other hallmarks of the mullahs, images of the regime’s first supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei, and others, parallel to airing anti-regime slogans in public in cities across the country are all various measures that are slowly but surely chipping away at the regime’s seemingly unchallengeable domestic suppression. Furthermore, these are the very measures that are paving the path for the next round(s) of nationwide uprisings that the mullahs’ regime is going the distance to prevent, or at least delay.

This is exactly why a report wired on Sunday by the IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency emphasized: “The PMOI/MEK represent the very definition of enmity against the [mullahs’ regime].”

Under such circumstances, the regime needs every tool at its disposal to slow down the expansion of organized protests and activities by the Iranian opposition. As such, despite all its risks and serious ramifications, restricting internet access is among its top priorities.

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