A Report Prepared by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress- December 2012
This report presents an overview of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and attempts to provide an inclusive assessment of the organization, including characteristics such as its history and development, organizational structure, and recruitment.
The information in this report was collected mainly from Farsi and English journals, online news Web sites, and Iranian blogs. In conducting this analysis, an effort has been made to ensure the reliability of the information by comparing and contrasting all information across multiple sources. However, because of the secretive nature of the organization and its operations, information about the ministry is difficult to locate and evaluate.
Because of the extreme degree of control of the media and news by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranians have to depend on alternative sources such as blogs to receive daily news. For example, in 2005 Iran had the third-largest number of bloggers in the world after the United States and China, an indication of the importance of the communication and dissemination of news through blogs and social media. Needless to say, the Ministry of
Intelligence and Security does not publish information about its activities on Iranian Web sites.
Consequently, in the absence of official government information, this report occasionally relies on social media, in particular blogs, as a source of information more than might ordinarily be warranted. The reliability of blog-based information may be questionable at times, but it seems prudent to evaluate and present it in the absence of alternatives.
In view of the secrecy that surrounds the ministry, many aspects of its organization, leadership, and activities are poorly understood. The role of the ministry outside of Iran and its cooperation with the Quds Force are topics that merit more careful study. In addition, knowledge of the ministry’s cyber capabilities would give better insight into Iran’s possible intentions in a cyber-war.
As noted above, this report relies extensively on sources in Farsi. For the convenience of the reader, the bibliography and footnotes list those sources with English translations of their titles first, followed by the original Farsi titles in brackets. The Web addresses presented in the report were current as of November 2012.