IRGC General Gholamreza Jalali, the chief of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, said in a December 2, 2019 interview on Ofogh TV (Iran) that shutting down the Internet like the Iranian government did during the recent demonstrations can potentially harm that country and that a national intranet would enable the government to provide services while keeping Iran safe. In addition, he said that Israeli tools influence events in Iran. He gave the example of the Israeli-made GPS navigation app Waze, which he claimed directed people to highways during the recent demonstrations in order to cause traffic jams and so that people could be “held hostage” and forced to protest.
Following are excerpts:
Gholamreza Jalali: Since we did not have a model for management and control, we had to completely shut down [the Internet]. This is something that can really harm the public.
Interviewer: So we wouldn’t have to shut everything down simultaneously if we had a national network?
Gholamreza Jalali: Exactly. Look, the recent events proved some things about a national network. First, there is a serious and basic need for a national information network. After all, our country is under threat, and we need to provide services to people while maintaining their security. We therefore need infrastructure that would enable us to provide this service.
Israeli tools also play a role in this case. For instance, on the day of the riots in Tehran, the Waze software directed all the traffic to the highways in order to create traffic jams, while it is supposed to do the exact opposite. Since there were traffic jams there, it shouldn’t have shown… Right it should have kept the public away from that area and offered alternative routes, but it directed everybody there so that here would be traffic jams. Perhaps if these events had not taken place, it would not matter how much we discuss Waze and say that it is Israeli and that I has these capabilities, because people would not have been able to sense it. However, these events have made everything tangible. In fact, we could see how people were sent in that direction in Tehran, and some villains blocked the highway ramps and exits, taking the people hostage in those huge highways while it was snowing in order to make them protest. If anyone objected that he had a wife and children, and that it was a problem for him to stay there in the cold, they would incite him and threaten him.