Tehran accuses US of launching "cyber war" against Iran
Tehran has accused the United States of having launched a "cyber war" against Iran, state television network IRIB reported Sunday, dpa reported.
IRIB showed a ten-minute special programme, apparently made by the country's intelligence service, showing what it said were US efforts to infiltrate parts of Iranian society through the web and to encourage Iranians to fight against the establishment.
According to the report, the main figures in the alleged US plot are two former student activists, Ahmad Batebi and Kayvan Rafei, whose operations in Iran are run under the umbrella of the so-called Association for Defending Human Rights.
The TV report showed a picture of Batebi shaking hand with former US President George W Bush - date and venue were not mentioned - and said that the Central Intelligence Agency had allocated at least 400 million dollars for the plot code-named "Operation Destabilizing Iran."
Batebi had further met other high-ranking US officials, apparently from the Republican Party, and also cooperated with the London-based monarchist group "Royal Society )of Iran" and the People's Mujaheddin of Iran (PMOI) whose main base is still in Iraq, the report said.
According to the report, also members of the Bahai religious minority, which is regarded as an illegal religious sect in Iran, are involved in the cyber plot.
The plot had not only political aims but also tried to push Iranians into social immoralities such as illicit sexual relations, the IRIB report said.
The anti-Iran operation was started up in 2006 and was intensified after last June's presidential election which was overshadowed by massive fraud charges and mass demonstrations against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad's re-election has not yet been acknowledged by the opposition and several Western leaders have refrained from congratulating the Iranian president.
The Iranian judiciary announced in a statement Saturday that 30 members allegedly linked to the US-linked cyber network were arrested.
The 30 were alleged to be gathering information on Iranian nuclear scientists, encouraging people to take part in anti-government demonstrations and further attracting and dispatching them to PMOI camps in Iraq to be trained as rebels, the statement said.
One among the arrested network members is from an illegal religious sect, the reports said, possibly a reference to the Bahai religious minority.
Iran regards PMOI as a terrorist group due to its involvement in the assassinations of several high-ranking Iranian officials, including the president and prime minister in 1980.
According to Iran, PMOI members have also attended protest demonstrations following last June's disputed presidential election and had violent confrontations with police and security forces.