The document was released under the title “The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Manifesto Concerning the International Laws Governing the Cyberspace,” ISNA reported on Monday.
The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are comprised of the Army, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Law Enforcement Force.
The document, the General Staff said, has been released in the light of the Armed Forces’ duty towards the country’s defense as well as the fact that the cyberworld has emerged as an entirely “new realm” across the field of defense and security.
The document reminded that a great extent of international legal principles apply in the cyber world as well, such as equal entitlement to sovereignty and prohibition of resort to force and intrusive action.
What action warrants response?
The General Staff of the Armed Forces said it has honed its cyber defense prowess in line with the imperative of guarding the country’s strategic military, economic, social, cultural, and political power.
The Islamic Republic’s sovereignty extends to “all components of the cyberspace too,” and, therefore, any deliberate intrusion targeting the latter constitutes a violation of this sovereignty, the document read.
It cited any sanction as one such intrusive measure as it tramples upon the sovereignty of an independent country.
According to the manifesto, any attempt at “regime change” such as coercive political action or diversion of public opinion in the run-up to elections similarly classifies as violation of the country’s sovereignty.
The quality of the response
Should the intensity of any cyber attack on the country’s vital infrastructure reach the threshold of “conventional armed attack,” the Armed Forces reserve the right to “legitimate defense,” it said.
The statement finally noted that the Armed Forces retain their doctrine of refraining from initiating any conflict as they do in the case of real world battlegrounds, but reserve the right to respond to any threat “powerfully and in a regret-inducing manner.”