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Beware Unpeeled Fruit -- Iran's Intelligence Ministry Issues New Security Advice

July 11, 2013

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has issued a long list of advice to Iranians on a wide range of topics, from cellphone use to cybersecurity, travel, praying, and how to deal with one's neighbors.

"We live in a turbulent world," the Intelligence Ministry declares in the directive, which was published by Iranian news agencies.

It says that while state security bodies like itself are working "day and night" to preserve Iran’s national security, citizens can contribute by improving their own security and the security of their loved ones.

In order to do that, the ministry says, citizens need to follow several pieces of advice.

These guidelines include "never" having any contact with foreigners and foreign embassies without informing security officials.

"Any contact with foreigners without the knowledge of officials, either inside or outside the country, can turn you into a slave of foreign intelligence services," the ministry advises.

It also gives citizens a phone number to call if they notice suspected terrorists or saboteurs.

Some of the suggestions seem quite bizarre and cover matters far outside the purview of Iran’s top intelligence body.

For example, the ministry tells Iranians to maintain good ties with their neighbors and not to neglect their religious beliefs. "Never neglect your relationship with God and ask him for help in all affairs," it advises.

In a "travel” section, the ministry assumes the role of a travel guide, warning citizens not to eat salads, unpeeled fruit, or drinks with ice in restaurants they don’t know.

Other suggestions include:

"Never have discussions with your relatives, friends and colleagues in public or quiet … spaces [where you can be overheard]."

"Never ask passers-by for directions. Try to find a police officer."

"Don’t ever let others use your cellphone," a recommendation which is followed by, "Never use the cellphone of people you don’t know."

"Don’t use simple and recognizable [computer] passwords."

“In your assessments don’t rely only on people's appearance; imposters will never show you their true face."

-- Golnaz Esfandiari


Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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