The online messaging app Telegram has an estimated 40 million users in Iran – half the population – making it the country’s most popular social media app. (AFP)

October 17, 2020

The Chief of Iran’s Cyber Police (FATA) said that its agents had arrested two people in Ardabil, northwestern Iran, on charges of insulting the province’s judiciary officials.

“While monitoring social networks, Cyber Police experts came upon Telegram groups that were disturbing public opinion by posting lies, fake news and insults against the province’s judiciary officials,” Ali Ghahreman Tale’e said in comments carried by the IRGC affiliated Tasnim News Agency.

Ghahreman Tale’e said that due to the “sensitive nature of the issue” cyber detectives “immediately gathered evidence” and were able to “use police tactics” to identify the anonymous Telegram groups administrators.

“After investigating the leads, the two main suspects in the case were identified and detained and were handed over to the Judiciary,” the FATA official said.

He also threatened Iranians that any kind of “opinions, lies and insults about people would have legal consequences” adding that “those who break the norms on the internet will be dealt with”.

Iran’s Cyber Freedom

According to a new report by Freedom House, the application of national sovereignty to cyberspace is a tactic used by autocratic governments. It has given them “free rein to crack down on human rights while ignoring objections from local civil society and the international community.”

The report said that Iran’s government cut off connections to hide the police’s violent response to mass protests in late 2019 adding that this was “an ultimate expression of contempt for freedoms of association and assembly, as well as for the right to access information.”

On October 8, the regime created internet disruptions in Tehran when Iranians who had gathered to pay their respects to legendary singer and musician Mohammad-Reza Shajarian chanted “death to the dictator” echoing the iconic singer’s chant during 2009 protests.

Iran News Wire

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.