Recommendations of the Ministry of Intelligence to citizens

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People in central bazaar on February 21, 2013 in Tehran, Iran

Article Highlights

  • Inside Iran, life is quite different and difficult.

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  • The recommendations published by the Intelligence Ministry show its pervasiveness in everyday life.

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When Iranian officials depict their revolution to outsiders, they often describe the Islamic Republic in glowing terms, as a Utopia brought on through the insight and wisdom of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor as Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Inside Iran, however, life is quite different and considerably more difficult.

The recommendations published by the Intelligence Ministry show its pervasiveness in everyday life. The recommendations excerpted here represent only a small portion of the 74 listed, which the Intelligence Ministry helpfully divides into categories: work and home safety recommendations; security recommendations with regard to neighbors; recommendations with regard to social interactions and in public; security advice with regard to automobiles; recommendations with regard to the protection of personal documents; recommendations with regard to the use of the telephone; safety recommendations regarding computer use; travel recommendations; and postal advice.
Both regime paranoia and fear of mundane criminality pervade the ministry recommendations. The Iran they hint at is a country replete with car thieves, muggers, and letter bombers, but the outside world they describe is even worse: hotel maids will steal documents, every computer will be hacked, and every foreigner is a spy.

The Iranian public may find such attitudes suffocating, but, at the same time, the Intelligence Ministry’s warnings reflect concern at the degree that the West (and, likely, East) penetrates Iranian networks and society.

Recommendations of the Ministry of Intelligence to Citizens

  • “Never be indifferent to events around you.”
  • “Any communication with foreign nationals [and embassy members] without informing officials, whether inside or outside of the country, may result in your capture by foreign agencies.”
  • “Never store copies of your data on computers.”
  • “Never be indifferent to cars that are parked for a long time around work or home: Cars that are parked for longtime around your workplace might belong to a delinquent, thief, or even be related to a crime.”
  • “Never ignore communication with God and seek His aid in all affairs, because the material life is very complicated and dangerous, and only He can accompany you on this path.”
  • “Never activate the ‘blue tooth’ menu on your cell phone.”
  • “If you observe suspicious individuals, terrorists, or saboteurs, report the matter to security centers, especially Ministry of Intelligence News Headquarters at [phone] number 113.”
  • “If possible, follow them and ascertain their place of establishment without rousing suspicions.”
  • “If they have attached suspicious objects to vehicles or released them in public, do not approach the object, and report it immediately to the authorities.”
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Michael
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  • Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy. Rubin instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East and Afghanistan on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on board deploying U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. His newest book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engagement examines a half century of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups.


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