Stranger Danger: Iran’s Intelligence Ministry issues guidelines to prevent Iranians’ capture by foreign agents.
While President-elect Hassan Rouhani has called for greater openness and freedom of expression, noting earlier this month that social networking sites like Facebook are “welcome”, and saying that web filtering will bring “distrust”, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry issued a lengthy series of guidelines to help Iranians avoid the dangers of foreign agents, nefarious communications technologies and unwashed salad.
The Ministry’s message — disseminated via Iranian media outlets — is clear: Iranians should be suspicious of foreigners, any contact with whom could result in capture by foreign agencies. Other dangers also lurk in restaurants (especially in salads), the postal service, hotel rooms, and on the streets.
The Ministry warns:
Any communication with foreign nationals [and embassy members] without informing officials, whether inside or outside of Iran, may result in your capture by foreign agencies.
Iranians should be very wary of strangers, the Ministry says — and should never, ever trust them, especially those who express interest in you for no reason.
If you do agree to meet a stranger, the Ministry warns, you should do so in a public place, as this will lessen your chances of being attacked.
The Ministry goes on to warn that everyday technologies can be extremely dangerous, calling on Iranians to:
Never activate the Bluetooth menu on your cell phone.
The Ministry has this helpful explanation of the dangers of Bluetooth to national security:
This feature, if enabled on a cellphone, allows an unknown person up to 50 meters away to take advantage of the information on your ‘phone or transmit to viruses to it.
The Ministry also informs Iranians they should always password protect their computers — especially in the office.
The Ministry goes on to offer advice on other matters, including what do do if you feel like going out for lunch or dinner:
In the event that you wish to eat in a restaurant, never choose a salad (especially in an unknown restaurant), unpeeled fruits or beverages with ice.
If you do go to a restaurant, or go indeed go outside at all, the Ministry warns:
Never expose your money or valuable objects in a briefcase or single container.
OK. So now let’s say you password protected everything, hid your money safely, and you are finally out on the street, with your cellphone’s Bluetooth feature firmly switched off — but you cannot find the place you are trying to reach.
The Ministry says:
Never ask passersby in the street for directions. Always ask a police officer or another official.
If you take the reckless step — despite all these dangers — of traveling outside your city, the Ministry notes:
If you should travel, never leave your documents in your hotel room.
The Ministry goes on to give detailed guidelines to help those Iranians who may wish to send items through the postal service, before warning:
If you observe suspicious individuals, terrorists, or saboteurs, report the matter to security centers, especially Ministry of Intelligence News Headquarters on 113.
If possible, follow them and ascertain their place of establishment without rousing suspicions.
If they have attached suspicious objects to vehicles or released them in public, do not approach the object, and report it immediately to the authorities.
So dangerous is the world outside that the Ministry says Iranians should be equally vigilant about their relationship with God:
Never ignore communication with God and seek His help in all matters, because the material life is very complex and dangerous, and only He can accompany you on this path.
[Hat tip to the American Enterprise Institute’s Iran Tracker for link and some of the translations]