NCRI - Tasnim News, affiliated with the terrorist Qods Force, described the Iran regime’s fear of the impact of cyberspace on the upcoming presidential election in Iran; comparing it to a minefield that has surrounded the regime. According to the article, “Under such circumstances, we are engulfed in a minefield. Since the number of enemies has increased, they have a soft but imposing approach with the regime through the media and cyberspace. Therefore, we have to cope with this issue with reasonable and tactful approaches.”
The news agency also expressed concern about the impact of cyberspace on the election. Alireza Aledavoud, who is an expert on cyberspace, said, “In the uprising of 2009, as our people had limited access to broadband internet and social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, have not been greatly welcomed, the enemies couldn’t manage to give information or establish network channels in order to inflict serious harms to the regime. It is noteworthy that people’s access to the Internet, mobile, and other related devices has increased in 2016 and 2017 in comparison with the number of cyberspace users in 2009.”
She added, “The people welcomed the Internet. According to the present figures, 53% of Iranians are a member of a social media channel. In other words, out of 100 men and 100 women, 55 and 51 of them are members in at least one social media network respectively.”
Moreover, according to the figures released by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology of Iran, the rate of active mobile subscribers reached more than 97% in 2016 versus about 39% in 2007. Additionally, the rate of SIM card holders had reached 46.8% in 2007. In 2017, this number is more than 188%.
These statistics soared dramatically. They are alarming and Khamenei has explicitly ordered the speed limit of Internet be controlled before launching a national information network.”
This government official pointed to the influence of different social networks in Iran, which have been greatly welcomed by the Iranians. This official stated, “The enemy is currently planning to influence social movements in order to topple the regime. Therefore, the situation is exceptional and in particular, the presidential election of 2017.
According to a survey, 72% of youths, aged 18 to 29, have announced that they are a member of at least one of the social media channels. Equally, 53% of those aged 30 to 49 and 25% of those aged over 50 have the same involvement.”
The cyber expert of the IRGC stipulated that nearly 20 million out of 80 million Iranians are members of the Telegram Channel. As a matter of fact, the influence of social media networks has increased in Iran, especially during the uprising of 2009.
Concerning this issue, Alireza Aledavoud added, “While the social media spread immediately right after 2009, the Telegram Channel is now exerting an impact in Iran. We have to consider that our authorities must be vigilant and fully responsible in these days, especially since evidence suggests that the uprising of 2009 is going to happen again in Iran.”