A week after Iran issued regulations to crack down on Internet expression, the country’s police chief made his opinions about Web search very clear, telling the Iranian Labour News Agency that Google is not a search engine, but a “spying tool.”

An Iranian visits a political Internet site called "Manjam.” (Andrea Bruce/The Washington Post)

People’s information should be better protected against enemies and cyber attacks, Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam told ILNA. His solution: Build a national Internet.

Iran’s information minister, Reza Taqipour Anvari, told the the Islamic Republic News Agency that he supported the notion, citing added benefits to a soon-to-be-launched national Internet — including cost, security and bandwidth.

When the network becomes operational in a few weeks, it will give government institutions and large companies access to a wider Internet, but ordinary Iranians will be limited to a “halal,” or more censored network. The network took $1 billion to develop.

Also scheduled to debut in early 2012 is a Iranian search engine, to replace Google, called “Ya Haq,” or “Oh Just One,” according to the Heritage Network.

Iran’s computer systems were attacked in 2010 by the Stuxnet worm, a malware that appeared to have been designed specifically to attack the country’s nuclear program.

At the time, Mahmoud Liaii,  head of the information technology council at the ministry of industries, told the state-run Iran Daily newspaper: “An electronic war has been launched against Iran.”

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