Despite repeated denials by IRGC's Fras news agency about a recent hack of its data servers, Iran's judiciary has started an investigation into damaging leaks.
Prosecutor General of Tehran Ali Alghasi-Mehr said on Wednesday that the probe into the cyberattack against Fars news, a cultural propaganda machine with close links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, is because a significant database of personal information of journalists and employees has been leaked.
However, it seems that the investigation has been launched because the authorities are not sure what has been hacked and what database has been breached.
A new word has been coined to refer to the large amount of data leaked from the hack: Farsgate.
A 123-page document, a copy of which Iran International obtained, is among the material the hacktivist group Black Reward uncovered. The document which includes both hearsay and excerpts from domestic and foreign-based Persian media was made in one copy only for the eyes of the IRGC chief commander Hossein Salami. Earlier in the week, Black Reward also released some audio files from a meeting between Qasem Qoreyshi, the deputy commander of the paramilitary Basij and media representatives.
Prosecutor General of Tehran Ali Alghasi-Mehr
Black Reward announced on Friday, November 25, that it had attacked the database of Fars News Agency claiming that it deleted nearly 250 terabytes of data from all the servers and computers of the website and obtained confidential bulletins sent by the news agency to the office of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The report revealed a lot of recent orders by Khamenei about the ongoing protests that have engulfed the country since mid-September following the death of the 22-year-old Mahsa (Jina) Amini in the custody of morality police. Now, after several batches of information were leaked to the media, the authorities have started a damage control campaign to seize back the narrative, as most of the data prove that the Islamic Republic is frustrated and weary over its inability to end the protests.
The secret reports also revealed that most Iranians are getting ready for a revolution in the country as the popularity of the regime has dwindled, even among those considered supporters of the Islamic Republic. According to the documents, the level of dissatisfaction is so high that Khamenei has ordered some fundamental change in the structure of the regime in order to prevent a collapse.
The reports came as the protests in the country show no sign of ending and the movement has been spreading at universities and turning into strikes of employees in the industrial and services sectors, such as truckers.
While Iranian universities have turned into a battleground for antigovernment protests, students and professors in more than 150 universities around the world held events in support of the protests in Iran.
Meanwhile in Iran, Rasoul Jalili, the president of Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology, said on Wednesday that the university has increased its security staff by recruiting forces from private security companies. The measure is probably aimed at silencing those who criticize the university for allowing government security forces – especially the IRGC’s Basij paramilitary forces – to enter the campus to crack down on student rallies and sit-ins. If the measure proves successful, it can serve as a model for other universities to clamp down on students.
While Iranians have planned to hold three days of nationwide protests next week – 5-7 December – strikes by employees of industrial factories and truckers have injected fresh blood to the uprising.
Truck drivers and owners in several cities such as Esfahan, Bandar Abbas, Qazvin, and Kermanshah as well as many other western cities refrained from moving goods in support of the protests and strikes by industrial workers. Many people on social media describe the strike by the truckers as a significant blow to the Islamic Republic since it has the potential to cripple the economy. Some people say, “the truckers are leading the revolutionary uprising.”