Iran: Impact of infiltrating the regime’s security apparatus

The regime ruling Iran has had its hands full recently with nationwide protests over the rising prices of food staples followed by people taking to the streets in many cities over the May 23 collapse of the ten-story Metropol tower in Abadan, southwest Iran, that has left at least 37 killed. The circumstances have become extremely tenuous such that any protest of any nature bears the potential of quickly evolving into contagious anti-regime rallies that spread fast and furious like wildfire across the country.

To add insult to injury, on Thursday, June 2, the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) reported that members of its affiliated network of “Resistance Units” inside Iran took down over 5,000 security cameras belonging to the Tehran Municipality and defaced many of its websites.

These security cameras, websites, and various servers containing sensitive data are constantly used by the offices of regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, regime President Ebrahim Raisi, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the state police, and other entities to  maintain a close watch over millions of increasingly enraged and defiant population.

Dozens of servers and datacenters affiliated to the Tehran Municipality Information Technology Center were compromised, resulting in several dozen state websites and platforms being defaced, showing images of Iranian Resistance leader Mr. Massoud Rajavi and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Taking Thursday’s initiative to another level, over 585,000 text messages were sent through Tehran Municipality servers to locals across the Iranian capital bearing this message:

“Damned be Khomeini! Death to Khamenei and Raisi! Hail to Rajavi!”

This security breach brings about a major embarrassment for the establishment, especially on the anniversary marking the death of the regime’s first supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini on June 3, 1989. It also creates a climate of mistrust among the regime’s security establishment that has a damning effect in weakening the regime at its core roots, both now and in the long run. More importantly, it encourages Iranians that an organized opposition movement exists that can easily penetrate and damage the most secret and tightly controlled regime agencies.

Tehran Mayor Alireza Zakani sent an “important and urgent” message to all regime officials regarding the “Tehran Municipality network hacked by sworn dissidents of the state.” Zakani specifically warned that the regime’s entire apparatus needs to be “one hundred percent on high alert” in the face of these developments.

What makes this recent setback all the more damning for the mullahs’ regime is the fact this is the fourth such blow in the past four months alone. The three previous cases prior to Thursday’s attack were as follows:

  • January 27, 2022—Taking down the state TV/radio network and broadcasting slogans of “Death to Khamenei” and “Hail to Rajavi” through 27 state media networks.
  • March 14, 2022—Taking down and defacing dozens of platforms associated to the regime’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and broadcasting images of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, and an image of Khamenei defaced with a red “X” while calling for continuous protests and an uprising to overthrow the mullahs’ regime.
  • April 25, 2022—Taking down and defacing over 100 servers and computers, dozens of applications and databases, 37 websites and 12 internal platforms associated to the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad while airing images of Iranian Resistance leaders and Khamenei’s image with a red “X”.

Security cameras are the tools used by the mullahs’ regime as means to impose their nationwide climate of fear and oppression. The regime’s security apparatus has spent hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing and installing this vast network, while emphasizing for years “the main focus of our police is on installing more closed-circuit cameras,” according to an article in the state-run Hamshahri daily back in early 2017.

“Khamenei himself is constantly emphasizing on increasing the number of police stations all across the country” and “equipping all these sites with security cameras,” according to remarks made in early 2017 by Mehdi Masoum Beigi, a senior commander of the regime’s State Security Force Command (SSFC).

Through installing all these security cameras, the regime intends to make all Iranians feel they are being watched 24/7. Thus, hoping to force all those intent on, and determined to rise in opposition to the regime to think long and hard and finally succumb to the status quo and the regime’s iron-fist rule.

However, through the past several years, and especially with an uptick in their initiatives in the past few months, the PMOI/MEK affiliated network of Resistance Units across Iran have been showing how the regime can be targeted through well-planned measures targeting the very core of the mullahs’ rule.

These measures have an inspiring effect on an already tumultuous society that is taking advantage of every opportunity to voice its demands for regime change. This is exactly what is keeping Khamenei and Raisi awake at night, such that all their decisions, both in regard to domestic matters and foreign policy issues, are made with this focal point in mind.

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