By Nazanin Kamdar, Rooz Online
Conflicting Postures Over the Cyber Army
A cartoon of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The new cultural-social deputy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent denial of the existence of “a cultural war” as “naive and stemming from ignorance.” He added, “Ignorance is not limited to the head of the administration: many people during the 2009 sedition suffered from it as well.” Sedition is the term the Iranian state uses for the protests against the rigged 2009 presidential elections that returned Ahmadinejad to the presidency.
A week after Google warned Iranian Internet providers and users that one of its Gmail digital certificates had been stolen and spoke of an undisclosed number of Gmail email accounts that had been hacked, which some Iranian media claimed was the work of the Revolutionary Guards’ (IRGC) Cyber Army, Hamid-Reza Moghadamfar, a member of the IRGC who until recently was managing editor of Fars news agency, asserted, after the ceremony that introduced him as the new “cultural-social deputy” of the IRGC the force’s support for the Cyber Army, that the force would be “honored” if the unknown hackers officially joined the IRGC.
According to a report by security-services-affiliated Fars news agency, speaking at the end of his presentation ceremony, Moghadamfar who during the post-2009 election turmoil was in charge of Fars, in addition to defending the IRGC’s intrusion into the realm of private life of citizens, also labeled chief executive Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rejection of the existence of a “cultural war” in the country as “naive.”
“The IRGC’s organization does not have a unit called the cyber army or force, but in practice there are millions of Basijis who are active in tens of self-generated cyber army activities confronting the enemy. If one day the IRGC organizes a cyber army, we shall be honored to announce this publicly,” Moghadamfar said. “Inside the IRGC, there are millions of Basij (i.e., voluntarily) individuals who are committed, and if they feel that the country is under any threat, they will confront it. If Basijis today feel that they is a cyber war against their country, they will find their way into it and will form tens of cyber armies, which has happened today, and of which the IRGC is proud,” he said, confirming the approval of such activities by the force.
Rejecting Ahmadinejad’s denial of the existence of a cultural war waged against Iran, Moghadamfar said even Canada and France agreed there was one going on. “It is very naive for us not to believe in that there is a cyber and cultural war. Its denial is a sign of ignorance which bars confronting it consciously, weakening the Islamic front and making the revolution vulnerable. The Basiji adolescents of this country have clearly understood the cyber war domain, so how could officials deny the cultural war,” he said.
Moghadamfar further said, “The shortcoming is not just in the head of the administration but during the 2009 sedition too many were inflicted with it. Generally, the government’s efforts regarding cultural issues are not satisfactory and the expectations of the government in this regard have not been met, and so more is expected of them.”
It should be noted that the IRGC had until now not praised hackers openly and with such words as “proud.”
The IRGC Cyber Army began its work along with the public protests to the 2009 presidential election results. It initially attacked Twitter, then websites belonging to the Green Movement, and finally Radio Zamaneh and Amir Kabir University’s newsletter. Many of those arrested in connection with the post-election protests also said that much of their personal information had been provided to their interrogators by elements of this force.
This very site publicly announced that Iran had the highest access to sexual sites during Ashoora religious day commemorations which resulted in the IRGC to disassociate itself from the cyber army.
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