Iran unplugs key assets from the web

In a move designed to shield its most sensitive agencies and progress its vision of a domestic intranet uncoupled from the worldwide web, Iran has confirmed that it plans to move key ministries and state bodies off the internet and shield them behind a secure firewall.

UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph quotes Reza Taghipour, the country’s telecommunications minister, as saying that the steps are necessary to protect Iranian assets from the vulnerabilities of the worldwide web, which he believes is controlled by “one or two” countries hostile to Iran.

The minister added that this will be the first phase in a bigger project to replace Iranians’ access to the global internet with a domestic intranet system, scheduled to be completed within 18 months but oft-delayed.

The Iranian government has made no secret of its belief that several recent computer viruses, including Stuxnet and Flame, were developed jointly by the US and Israel to damage Iranian assets, including its uranium enrichment programme and oil ministry.

Meanwhile, it has not escaped the attention of Iranian citizens that a domestic intranet system would cripple their communications with the outside world and increase the state’s surveillance capabilities.

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