Iran International TV has revealed the first photo of the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) cyberwarfare unit, Hamid Reza Lashgarian. According to the Intelli Times website, Lashgarian’s central role is developing Iran’s electronic warfare efforts.
Lashgarian was first identified in mainstream media last year when Sky News said he was the head of the IRGC’s Intelligence Team 13, in a report on leaked classified documents showing Iranian research on how a cyberattack could be used to sink a cargo ship or blow up a fuel pumping station. The cell led by Lashgarian has also been called the Shahid Kaveh Unit.
Iran International revealed a photo of Lashgarian in a report on Monday alongside photos of three other figures central to Iranian cyberwarfare. Sketches of the IRGC official had previously been published on intelligence sites.
Independent Israeli intelligence analyst Ronen Solomon, who runs the Intelli Times blog, said that Lashgarian is a brigadier-general who heads the IRGC-Electronic Warfare and Cyber Defense Organization (IRGC-EWCD), and that some of his work is developing Tehran’s electronic warfare capabilities.
What is electronic warfare?
בהמשך לחשיפת ראשי מערך הסייבר האלקטרוני באיראן, צריך לזכור כי לפעמים יש מי שמקדים ומפרסם קלסתרון כמבוא לחשיפה המלאה. pic.twitter.com/VrCOeU1vem— אינטלי טיימס - Intelli Times (@IntelliTimes) September 13, 2022
While cyberwarfare involves infiltrating computer systems and damaging them and/or extracting information, electronic warfare involves using electromagnetic signals or energy to control, attack, damage or disable enemy equipment, including drones, missiles, radars and more. Iran could use electronic warfare equipment to impede everything from IDF drones and radar to equipment like the Iron Dome missile-defense system.
Solomon shared a number of documents showing Lashgarian’s roles in the IRGC, including a certificate of appreciation that the IRGC official received for organizing an electronic warfare exercise, and a number of articles he wrote in Iranian journals.
Intelli Times additionally identified Lashgarian’s deputy as Col. Ali Mogadi, and published a sketch of Mogadi’s face.
While Lashgarian’s name is not well-known, Solomon said that the IRGC official is the electronic warfare equivalent of assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s nuclear program.
Lashgarian's written works
Lashgarian has written a series of papers on electronic warfare, and is heading research on it at the Imam Hossein University.
Papers written by Lashgarian include “The role of UAVs in the field of electronic warfare, integration needs and challenges,” “Investigating the Bayesian method to reduce ambiguity in the problem of identifying marine targets,” and “Analyzing enemy behavior using Markov models based on electronic warfare observations in a situational awareness environment.”
At the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Herzliya conference on Monday, Mossad head David Barnea said that Israel would strike Iranian officials who conduct or order attacks against Israeli citizens, saying this would happen in “Tehran, Kermanshah and Isfahan.”
Solomon noted that Lashgarian is from Isfahan, and that Barnea may have been referencing the IRGC official when mentioning the city.
Fakhrizadeh, the scientist to whom Solomon compared Lashgarian, was assassinated near Tehran in 2020. The killing was blamed on Israel.