NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
By Sea and Coast | 08/10/2020

New Chinese Intelligence Gathering Capabilities in Iran

Under the auspices of the recent strategic agreement between China and Iran, the two countries have agreed to establish joint intelligence-gathering capabilities in Iran.

An essential intelligence-gathering capability to be built is for intrastate monitoring and control in Iran, which will enable close monitoring of the population, like that in China.

This capability, which will be operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), will allow the Iranian regime to monitor subversive activity against the Ayatollah regime, crime monitoring, and espionage activity. China will begin building the intelligence gathering infrastructure in Iran as early as mid of November this year.

The Iranian Chinese monitoring project includes the installation of more than 15 million cameras in 28 major cities in Iran. All cameras will interface with control centers in Iran and China. The control systems operated in the control centers have interfaces not only to the camera systems but also to the cellular networks, to governmental databases, to personal records, bank records, and more. The control and monitoring systems will monitor people”s behavior through the integration of all information, cellular records, and databases based on intelligent artificial algorithms and big data capabilities. The control systems will indicate and alert upon abnormal behavior of people.

This capability makes it possible to create for every resident of the country a complete digital identity.

The infrastructure for collecting information within Iran (and transmitting it to China as well) will be based on Chinese Internet capabilities, encryption, and information security.

The capabilities of the population monitored by the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) significantly strengthen its political power in the country (which in any case almost actually controls Iran) and provide IRGC additional tools and controls in the struggle for the future of Iran regime and internal politics. Moreover, the monitoring capabilities deepen China”s foothold in Iran and create a stronger dependence on Iran in China.

China, of which Iran is one of its primary energy suppliers, sees Iran as a key geostrategic partner in implementing its “Belt and Road Imitative” (BRI) strategy.

The BRI is a transcontinental long-term strategy program that aims at infrastructure development and acceleration of the economic integration of countries along the route of the historic Silk Road. The Initiative was unveiled in 2013 by China”s President Xi Jinping 1 .

BRI aims to promote the connectivity of Asian, European, and African continents and their adjacent seas, establish and strengthen partnerships among the countries along the Belt and Road, set up alldimensional, multi-tiered, and composite connectivity networks, and realize diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development in these countries using Chinese money. By this move, China gets control of national infrastructure, seaports, high- tech companies, and other assets contributing to China”s economy and energy needs.

Under the agreement between China and Iran, China is expected to invest a significant amount of money in Iran in the construction of factories, transportation infrastructure (including railways), and technological infrastructure, in return for which Iran is expected to transfer to China”s control national infrastructures, such as seaports and energy production sites.

The agreement between Iran and China gives Iran more power to control its population, money for its survival, and by that, strengthening the regime. On the other hand, the agreement gives China control over essential national infrastructure and assets in Iran, which supports its ability to secure the energy supply and line of commerce to China.

The strategic agreement comes in a year of increasing military tension between the countries and the US at the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea. The Chinese-Iranian agreement emphasis the bond between them and sends a deterrence message to the US and its allies in the region.

# Sea And Coast Magazine