EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Islamic Republic of Iran has experienced a number of serious counterintelligence failures over the years. Last month, Iran and Russia, a close ally of the Islamic regime, signed a pact that should assist it as it attempts to reform its counterintelligence.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has an extensive and complex intelligence apparatus. Its two most important intelligence institutions are the Ministry of Intelligence (MOI) and the intelligence arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). A third key intelligence organization is the IRGC’s Intelligence Protection Organization, which operates independently of its intelligence arm and deals in counterintelligence.
While Iran’s intelligence organizations are well equipped and have achieved important successes (particularly in the area of signals intelligence, or SIGINT), the country’s intelligence apparatus is deficient with respect to counterintelligence, or “intelligence protection” as the regime has renamed it. The three most recent counterintelligence failures—all of them devastating— concerned the assassination of Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, the slaying of al-Qaeda´s number 2 on Iranian soil, and the assassination in Tehran of the architect of the Iranian nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Last month, in January 2021, Iranian FM Muhammad Javad Zarif made yet another visit to Moscow to meet with his counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Zarif has traveled to Russia more than 30 times, illuminating the Islamic Republic’s great dependence on that country. What made his most recent visit significant was the signing by the countries of a security treaty.
While the agreement ostensibly aims to increase collaboration between the countries in the field of cyber security, the Tasnim News Agency, which has strong links to the IRGC, said, “The head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization…unveiled plans for joint cooperation focusing on the exchange of intelligence, interaction against threats, and joint defense.” The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a press release that Iran and Russia had signed an “Information Security Cooperation Pact” and that one of the objectives of the pact is the “strengthening [of] information security.”
Read the complete article at: Besa Center