A senior Iranian police officer in charge of cyber crimes has announced that a special police unit to fight “crimes” committed on the Internet has been created.
General Omidi told the ILNA news agency
that the 12-member unit will act against “attempted fraud, illegal advertising, insults, and false statements.”
The move could lead to the targeting of websites that have become a platform for the opposition Green movement and its leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi.
On November 12, Iran’s police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moqadam was quoted as saying that cyberspace needs “security.”
Iranians opposing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad have utilized the web to share images, videos, and news about the protest movement.
Another Iranian police official, Hassan Karami, the chief in the West Azerbaijan Province, is quoted by ILNA news agency as saying that “the tensions” following the disputed June 12 election developed because law-enforcement forces did not have enough of a presence in cyberspace.
According to the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, Iran is second only to China in the extent and sophistication of its efforts to stifle dissent online.
Iran has banned thousands of news and political websites and also sites containing content that is deemed immoral.
-- Golnaz Esfandiari