Earlier this year Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran would establish a Supreme Council of Cyberspace. This was the latest action intended to strengthen Iran’s cyber power and defend the country against cyber attacks.

Sources inside of Iran have said that the council will be comprised of high-ranking Iranian officials such as the Iran’s Parliament speaker, Judiciary chief, head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, and ministers of Communication and Information Technology, Culture and Islamic Guidance and Intelligence.

At the Supreme Council of Cyber space inaugural meeting, according to available reports, the Ahmadinejad stressed the importance of the council’s work. The first order of business for the council, he said, will be to rapidly take actions that will gather intelligence necessary to gain a complete knowledge about the activities in cyber space – both inside of Iran and internationally.

According to data I’ve assembled in a resource volume I call the Cyber Commander’s eHandbook, Iran’s cyber warfare capabilities place them in the top 10 worldwide. Iran’s overall software industry is reasonably strong in a few areas.

However, it is not very competitive on an international basis. This factor is a hindrance to Iran’s aspiration in the cyber warfare domain. For that and economic reasons, Iranian leaders are taking action to address this shortcoming.

Late last year information leaked out that Iran had established a $1 billion USD cyber initiative that would develop new technology, recruit cyber experts in order to boost their offensive and defensive cyber warfare capabilities.

This is yet another step to defend against another embarrassment like Stuxnet which compromised Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and destroyed approximately 1,000 centrifuges at the Natanz fuel enrichment facility.

Kevin G. Coleman is a long-time security technology executive and former Chief Strategist at Netscape. He is Senior Fellow with the Technolytics Institute where he provides consulting services on strategic technology and security issues. He for Breaking Gov on the topic of cyber intelligence.