Supreme Leader’s top aide Ali Akbar Velayati, who is also a candidate in Iran’s presidential election, hailed the Iranian IT engineers and experts for their good progress, and said the arch foes of the Islamic Republic, the US and Israel, have been stunned by Tehran’s cyber power.
“Both the US and Israel have admitted the Islamic Republic of Iran’s cyber power,” Velayati said in a meeting held at the venue of the National Center for Cyberspace in Tehran on Sunday.
He also said that compared with other sciences, the cyberspace in Iran has shown a significant growth along with the progress of this science in the world.
In relevant remarks in February, an official of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps announced that Iran enjoys the world’s fourth biggest cyber army, stressing that the IRGC’s power is seen as a major counterbalance to the US and Israel in the region.
The IRGC with its cyber power and soft war capabilities is “the fourth biggest cyber power among the world’s cyber armies”, Deputy of the Supreme Leader’s representative at the IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Hossein Sepehr said.
He said the IRGC’s deterrence power has endangered the US interests in the region, and stressed that despite enemies’ threats and sanctions, the IRGC’s powerful will can crush the US and the Zionist regime in the region.
Iran’s cyber power was also earlier acknowledged by an Israeli think tank which cautioned that Iran enjoys remarkable capabilities in the filed of cyberspace technology and can repel enemies’ cyber attacks against its vital infrastructures.
Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in an October article by Gabi Siboni wrote that clearly the capabilities of the IRGC make Iran one of the most advanced nations in the field of cyberspace warfare.
Iran is working to develop and implement a strategy to operate in cyberspace. An announcement by Iran’s Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei) on formation of the Supreme Cyber Council in March shows how central the issue is in Iran.
The INSS article further mentioned that Iran is working on the following defensive goals:
The first objective is to create a “technological envelope” that will protect critical infrastructures and sensitive information against cyberspace attacks such as the Stuxnet virus, which sought to damage the Iranian uranium enrichment program. Stuxnet’s mission was to destroy centrifuges, and then destroy itself. It was programmed to terminate in June 24, 2012.
Second, to stop and foil cyberspace activity by opposition elements and opponents of Iran, for whom cyberspace is a key platform for communicating, distributing information, and organizing anti-Iran activities. The Iranian program to create a separate, independent communications network is particularly important in this context.
Apparently underway is a large cyber campaign by Iran, to repel the cyber attacks directed at it.
The article also claimed that in case of escalation between Iran and the West, Iran will likely aim to launch a cyber attack against critical infrastructures in the United States and its allies, including energy infrastructures, financial institutions, transportation systems, and others.
In order to realize the goals of its strategy, Iran has allocated about $1 billion to develop and acquire technology and recruit and train experts. The country has an extensive network of educational and academic research institutions dealing with information technology, computer engineering, electronic engineering, and math, said the article.
Dr. Gabi Siboni is the director of the Military and Strategic Affairs Program at INSS and editor of the journal by that name, joined the research team of the Institute for National Security Studies in 2005, complementing his wide-ranging activity in the realm of security and the military.