Iran’s Ayatollah, the country’s supreme leader, orders an Internet supervising agency, a sign of fears of the opposition, and perhaps the Mossad.
Iran has suffered several cyber attacks the past year, and a Stuxnet virus, allegedly originating from Israel, reportedly caused malfunctions in a nuclear facility.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose power is greater than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, did not offer details about the new agency except that it will be headed by Ahmadinejad and will include the intelligence minister and the commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guards.
The Ayatollah “enumerated the important impact of the Internet on individual and social life, the necessity of planning to prevent damages caused by it and using opportunities to provide people with useful services as reasons necessitating the establishment of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace,: the official government PRESS TV reported Wednesday.
“The council will establish the National Center for Cyberspace that will allow gaining complete knowledge about the activities in cyberspace on a domestic and international scale and to decide on how the country must address arising issue,” it added.
Internet service was disrupted in Iran two weeks ago, indicating that moves were being made to censor the web before last week's elections. Special software used by Iranians to circumvent government filters did not operate.
The Iranian regime has a policy of controlling the Internet, but the appointment of a new Internet agency will allow the government stricter censorship. Iranians already must show their photo identification cards when they use the web in Internet cafes, which also much track the website their customers use.
“In the past few months, the filtering of some news websites not only has affected the efficiency of Internet in Iran, but has blocked easy access to information,” reformist analyst Mashallah Shamsolvaezin told the Iranian Aftabnews, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper added that one network that helps people connect anonymously to the Internet was having problems connecting, causing a near-total loss of its users.