This is part of the outlook of a document by the Iranian regime’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, which has been delivered to its supreme leader Ali Khamenei and approved by him. On August 30, the Supreme Council of Cyberspace finally unveiled the ‘Strategic Document of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Cyberspace in Horizon of 2031’ and notified all the institutions of the regime of its implementation, including the President, Ebrahim Raisi.
The purpose of this document has two goals. First, to get rid of the dangers that virtual space has created for the regime. The second wish of the regime is the formation of the ‘Islamic Republic of the Internet’ to clone a ‘semi-Islamic Republic’ on the internet. With this, the regime will have much freer rein to collect people’s private and public information, and, in case of any protests, it will be easier for them to repress the people.
The ‘consolidation and strengthening of governance, the exercise of sovereignty and national authority over all dimensions and layers of the country’s cyber space’ has been declared as the first and most important goal, which must be implemented in less than eight years. The regime hopes to create a ‘space along the reality’ of the country, which it described as “healthy, useful, safe and relying on the country’s endogenous capacity.”
Another perspective of the regime is ‘to be among the top cyber powers and the first place to provide virtual space services in the region of West and Southwest Asia’ and to end the ‘domination of powerful countries on the global Internet network’.
To achieve this goal, several major actions should be considered.
The first step is to ‘complete and update the national information network with the priority of providing basic services of virtual space such as social messengers, search engine, operating system, and data center services’. This means that the regime would consider creating its own internet, separated from the global internet.
Earlier, Rasoul Jalili, a member of the Supreme Council of Cyber Space, revealed that the regime will issue a ‘passport’ to access the global Internet and create a ‘virtual border around the country’.
He said, “For the people entering the virtual space, there should be rules and laws. Since this is not done through real gates, such as in an airport, the immigration police have no control, therefore different regulations are required for virtual entry. Here, we must understand the problem and formulate a solution for it.”
In the macro measures of this plan, the regime has considered a ‘judiciary for cyberspace.’ Three military and security agencies, i.e., the IRGC, Ministry of Information, and Police, are supposed to form the ‘Cyberspace Police System’ or security monitoring and response network.
The plan has ordered the collection of the private information of the Iranian people. All security institutions, along with the judiciary and several ministries, have been mandated to design a ‘data governance’ system to store, process, exchange, share, exploit, regulate, secure, possess, and classify private and big data.
The regime is considering monitoring the people’s activity, even on the domestically created internet. In other words, each user’s identity and location would be clarified for security and judicial apparatuses before connecting to the domestic or the international Internet.
Another goal that the regime has prepared precise measures for it, is ‘promoting the discourse of the Islamic revolution, expanding the strategic depth of the system and realizing the new Islamic civilization in the virtual space.’
For this purpose, both the Ministry of Labor and the Organization of Administrative and Employment Affairs have been required to employ active hackers, as the ‘labor force of the Islamic Republic in cyberspace’.
On the day the document was unveiled, Hossein Salami, an IRGC commander, announced the existence of 2,000 cyber battalions active on the internet.
The regime’s Radio and Television (IRIB), the Ministry of Information, the Supreme National Security Council, and the General Staff of the Armed Forces each have their own cyber forces.
The decision-making and supervision of the Internet in Iran have been entrusted to the ‘High Commission for the Regulation of the Cyberspace of the Country’.
This commission will consist of representatives of security and intelligence institutions, including the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards, as well as the police command, the ministry of communication and information technology, culture and Islamic guidance, and relevant deputies.
The regime’s internet experts have said that one of the consequences of the implementation of this plan is the reduction of the internet bandwidth and speed, and the loss of 9 million jobs. With this plan, it has been considered that the ratio of 70 to 30 internet traffic should be observed. As a result, the regime’s Ministry of Communications must spend 70% of the traffic on the domestic network, leaving the remainder for the foreign internet.