In an open letter to the “revolutionary Iranian people”, the Pasdaran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, announced their fight against the “activities of organized destructive networks in cyberspace”. The Pasdaran also claimed that the aim of the network operators is to lead Iranian youth astray and that they had been encouraged and financially supported by the “largest foreign companies and small terrorist groups and by the counterrevolution”. The focus of criticism is not simply Iranian hardcore pornographic films, but rather those internet operators that “pursue the diabolical objectives of the enemies of the Islamic Revolution” and that , according to the Pasdaran, are “endangering Iran’s general security”. Some of these networks have apparently been “identified and destroyed” using the “intelligent and resolute” measures of the Pasdaran’s information departments.
Although the flag of the Revolutionary Guards features a fist holding a machine gun, and the outline of the globe in the background, they are now using sophisticated techniques for conducting their operations against “internet enemies”. They say they have founded a “centre for investigating crime in cyberspace”, which fights “anti-cultural and counterrevolutionary networks”.
Interestingly, the term “counterrevolutionary” derives from Communist state ideology. Terms like “anti-cultural” or “anti-values” are in fact neologisms created by Islamist ideology, but they show the extent of the totalitarian delusion. What is permitted is not a pluralism of values, but instead an Islamist interpretation of what counts as true values. And what are the consequences of all this? If a woman does not want to wear a headscarf, if a young man wants to wear T-shirts in the hot summer, if a Christian priest wants to talk openly with Muslims and non-Muslims in Farsi about his faith, if a Muslim does not want to accept the Shiite state clergy’s absolute will to dominate and has a different notion of Islam, if a Bahai believes in a revelation of God who in his view appeared after Mohammed, if an Iranian Jew wishes to travel to Israel in freedom and return to his home in Iran again - all these people, according to the regime, represent “anti-values” and are behaving “anti-culturally” thus representing a threat to the State.
But will the dictatorship be able to win also against Iranian exiles’ satellite broadcasters that are sometimes identified as operators of a velvet revolution? On 18 March the Human Rights Activists organization reported that the blogger Omid Mirsajafi died in prison for lack of medical treatment. Before he was arrested, Mirsajafi stressed in an interview, that he was only writing about art and culture in his blog. Nevertheless, he was accused of “insulting the sanctuaries of Islam” and arrested. While one among the most peaceful dissenters is consigned to prison, the “central hub” of the dictatorship, in cyberspace it will be impossible to execute dissenters, not even with the aid of the state-of-the-art filtering systems that Iran has bought from China.