Iran is receiving advanced surveillance software from Russia after providing it with drones for the Ukraine invasion, an exclusive report revealed on Monday.
The Wall Street Journal learned that Moscow is helping Tehran with advanced digital surveillance technologies as the two countries boost their military and cyberwarfare cooperation. Sources told the outlet that although Iran and Russia signed a cyber-cooperation agreement two years ago, Moscow was reluctant to share its digital-offensive technologies with Tehran out of fear it could end up on the dark web.
However, the situation changed after Iran started supplying Moscow with drones and agreed to provide short-range missiles, tank and artillery rounds for the Ukraine battlefield. The WSJ sources said that in exchange, Russia has been giving Iran communication-surveillance technologies, eavesdropping devices, advanced photography devices and lie detectors.
The report said that Moscow has already given Tehran advanced software that allows it to hack the phones of dissidents. Iran has also been using digital surveillance to track protesters as the country was swept with demonstrations over the death of Mahsa Amini last September.
According to previous U.S. intelligence reports, apart from the cyber aid, Iran has asked Russia for attack helicopters and jet fighters as well as assistance with its long-range missile program. The Canadian-based research center Citizen Lab has also discovered that Russia’s PROTEI Ltd is giving Iranian mobile services provider Ariantle internet-censorship software. PROTEI’s technologies would “enable state authorities to directly monitor, intercept, redirect, degrade or deny all Iranians’ mobile communications, including those who are presently challenging the regime,” according to the report.