- OIL PRICE - Sep 7, 2020 -
By Simon Watkins
The next phase of the 25-year deal between China and Iran will focus on a large-scale roll-out of electronic espionage and warfare capabilities focussed around the port of Chabahar and extending for a nearly 5,000 kilometer (3,000 mile) radius, and the concomitant build-out of mass surveillance and monitoring of the Iranian population, in line with the standard operating procedure across China, senior sources close to the Iranian government told OilPrice.com last week. Both of these elements dovetail into Beijing’s strategic vision for Iran as a fully-functioning client state of China by the end of the 25-year period. By that time, Iran will be an irreplaceable geographical and geopolitical foundation stone in Beijing’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, as well as providing a large pool of young, well-educated, relatively cheap labor for Chinese industry. The mass surveillance, monitoring, and control systems to cover Iran’s population is to begin its full roll-out as from the second week of November, after the final agreement on event sequencing has been reached in the third week of October at a meeting between Iran’s most senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and intelligence services figures and their Chinese counterparts. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, already agreed on the broad plans in July, according to the Iran sources. “The plan is for nearly 10 million extra CCTV [closed-circuit television] cameras to be placed in Iran’s seven most populous cities, to begin with, plus another five million or so pinhole surveillance cameras to be placed at the same time in another 21 cities, with all of these being directly linked in to China’s main state surveillance and monitoring systems,” said an Iran source. “This will enable the full integration of Iran into the next generation of China’s algorithmic surveillance system that allows for the targeting of behavior down to the level of the individual by combining these inputs with already-stored local, national, and regional records on each citizen, together with their virtual data footprints,” he said. “At the same time as this, China will start to trial its own heavily-censored version of the internet via the Great Firewall of China [that prohibits foreign internet sites], in Iran, and to begin the broad roll-out of Mandarin as a key foreign language to be learned in school, initially alongside English, but then to replace English,” one of the Iran sources added. “By the end of this process, these seven cities in Iran will be among the top 25 most surveilled cities in the world,” he underlined.