Saturday, September 30, 2023

Iran to Set Up Fourth Major Intelligence Entity

The Islamic Republic of Iran is about to create its fourth full-fledged intelligence agency, mainly to respond to growing domestic opposition and likely protests.

The new agency will be an elevation of the existing “protection and intelligence” department of the Judiciary, which has been notorious for its role in suppressing dissent. The move comes amid the regime’s fear of renewed unrest as the first anniversary of last year’s Mahsa protests approaches.

This development is not entirely new, as the regime is merely elevating the existing “protection and intelligence” department of its notorious Judiciary to the status of an intelligence organization. A similar process took place 13 years ago when the intelligence department of the Revolutionary Guard was upgraded to an “organization” following mass protests in 2009, and since then, it has been effectively used as a tool for domestic repression.

Media reports from Tehran suggest that the Iranian parliament will commence discussions on the bill to officially elevate the Judiciary’s intelligence organization starting Sunday. This elevation will grant the new intelligence body more power and a larger budget, further bolstering its capabilities for surveillance and repression. The regime’s decision comes as the first anniversary of last year’s Mahsa protests approaches, and the clerical leadership is bracing for potential unrest.

Last December, a lawmaker commenting on the initiative said that gathering information and reports about sensitive cases “to counter the propaganda campaigns by the global arrogance” is part of the duties of the new organization, indicating that the body will also coordinate with other entities outside the judiciary’s apparatus. “Global arrogance” is a term used by the Islamic Republic to refer to the United States.


The creation of a fourth intelligence agency is a worrying development. It shows that the regime is becoming increasingly repressive and is determined to crack down on any dissent. This is a threat to the Iranian people and to regional stability.

The regime’s fear of domestic opposition is inevitable. The Iranian people have been protesting against the regime for years, and the protests have only gotten bigger and more frequent in recent months. The regime knows that it is losing legitimacy, and it is trying to shore up its power by creating a more repressive security apparatus.

Another indication of the ineffectiveness of the system is the establishment of a fourth intelligence agency. There are currently three intelligence agencies under the government (Ministry of Intelligence and Security, Islamic Revolutionary Guard and Council of Intelligence Coordination), so it’s unclear what the new one will be able to do that they can’t.

Aimen Jamil
Aimen Jamil's intellectual curiosity lies at the intersection of Middle East and Pakistan Foreign Policy.

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