Iran’s intelligence services have “significantly accelerated” spying on their own citizens in the wake of anti-regime protests that rocked the nation, according to an extensive investigation released Thursday by a leading Iranian exile dissident group.
The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, relying on what it says include sources inside the government, contends the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security are engaging in “mass surveillance” of protesters and dissidents by employing a web of state-produced mobile phone apps.
Just days after U.S. intelligence warned in its annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” of increased cyberthreats emanating from Iran, the NCRI report said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has so successfully deployed its social media spyware that millions of users outside Iran could be exposed to it.
While not immediately verifiable, the assertion marks the latest push by the NCRI, which also has a U.S. branch, to expose what it says are authoritarian and nefarious activities by Tehran. The Iranian regime, in turn, accused the group of having a hand in stoking violent street protests against economic conditions in recent months.
Although the NCRI has had at times a contentious relationship with Washington, it is believed to have deep sources in Iran and is credited with major revelations — particularly in exposing secretive Iranian nuclear facilities in the early 2000s.