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Leaked Files Show Iran’s Regime Fears Defection Among MPs

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On February 13, reports emerged about the Khane Mellat News Agency, associated with the Iranian regime’s Parliament, being inaccessible, with the dissident group GhiamSarnegouni (Persian for Rise up to Overthrow) claiming responsibility, asserting control over 600 parliament servers. These included the main server, commission servers, the main hall server, the parliament’s bar server, database servers, representatives’ offices, international affairs departments, and research centers.

The leaked information unveiled insights into the regime’s security measures and its intervention within the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis). Documents indicated that during the 2022 uprising, the clerical regime was deeply concerned about potential defections among its own authorities and their inclination to take political stances contrary to the ruling establishment. Reports suggest that certain MPs received “briefings” from security agencies, either in person or via phone calls.

Additionally, a confidential report addressed to the Speaker of the Parliament M.B. Ghalibaf highlighted certain MPs, being categorized as disruptive representatives. Security agencies also announced monitoring parliament members’ and staff’s phone numbers to prevent participation in protests and collaboration with protesters. This surveillance extended to “parliament members’ office staff,” while the Legislative Branch’s security stressed the need to prevent “psychological tension” among them and their involvement in street protests.

The Parliament’s Security Council, in a report to Ghalibaf regarding the actions taken during the nationwide protests of 2022, stated that they monitored the potential presence of MPs and staff in gatherings and protests by disruptors, stationed police and Basij vehicles in the parking lots and around the parliament, and removed garbage bins from around the parliament to prevent people from setting them on fire.

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The state-run Ruydad 24 wrote on February 15, “The hacker group claimed that on September 25, 2022, the Security Department of the Legislative Branch, in a letter to Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the Speaker of the Parliament, reported security measures related to protests, including warnings to representatives not to take a stance on Mahsa Amini’s case, surveillance of all parliament members’ and staff’s phone numbers for potential monitoring of their presence at gatherings, and the relocation of trash bins away from the parliament premises to prevent them from being set on fire by protesters, actions that appeared peculiar. The Security Department also informed the Speaker that some representatives, including Rashidi Kouchi, Pakfetrat, and Khodarayan, were considered disruptive elements… It is worth mentioning that Jalal Rashidi Kouchi has been disqualified from running in the twelfth parliamentary elections.”

Furthermore, images circulated by state media suggest that a session in parliament on February 14 has encountered difficulties due to issues with the electronic voting system. Unlike the usual electronic voting procedure, MPs were forced to physically stand up to vote due to the system’s malfunction.

Also on February 14, the newspaper Kayhan, dedicated an entire article, suggesting that the goal of the cyber-attack was to “tarnish the elections to undermine the credibility of the parliament.” The newspaper, whose editorial guidelines are directed by the Office of the Supreme Leader, attributed yesterday’s events to espionage activities of the CIA and Mossad. Kayhan acknowledged the significant impact of this incident on the internal dynamics of regime forces, asserting that “a mafia-like coalition of foreign adversaries and domestic traitors is collaborating to instill distrust among revolutionary forces and pit them against each other.”