The massive media network, as identified by the Intelligence Ministry, is “one of the largest media networks affiliated to the global arrogance”, whose main task was to execute a new “sedition” ahead of the upcoming presidential and city councils’ elections on June 14 in Iran.
The BBC-affiliated network was being monitored by the ministry for one year and a half, according to Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi, before a crackdown was launched in January to arrest its domestic agents after acquiring legal permissions from the Judiciary.
The ministry said the main goal of the network was to “exploit what they learned during the sedition period” after the 2009 presidential election, which was incited by the West and its media apparatuses, particularly the BBC.
Britain and the U.S. established Persian services for their media outlets, including the BBC Persian, the Voice of America and Radio Farda – which is a U.S-funded Prague-based Persian radio, to especially incite ethnic rifts among the Iranian nation and prepare the ground for their hostile actions in the Islamic Middle Eastern country.
The British Foreign Office in Iran launched the BBC Persian radio on December 29, 1940 as its main propaganda arm preaching discord and sedition in the country.
BBC Persian radio, known in Iran as Radio London, stayed on waves for 50 years before the BBC launched a Persian TV broadcast in 2008.
Radio London, was one of the first foreign-language services of the British state broadcaster and began its work to counter Germany’s Radio Berlin, which aired Persian broadcasts for Iranians, during the First World War.
Radio London also played a key role in accomplishing a plot hatched by the U.S. spying apparatus, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in the early 1950s to topple the democratically-elected government of late Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in the aftermath of the nationalization of Iranian oil industry, which was formerly dominated by the UK government.
After the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, BBC Persian began distorting news about the Iraqi-imposed war on Iran in a desperate attempt to depict that the newly-formed Islamic Republic was unable to work.
Later on, six months before the 2009 presidential elections in Iran, the British Foreign Office launched BBC Persian TV news channel to effectively replace the so-called Radio London as the UK government’s propaganda apparatus against the Islamic Republic.
The channel focused on the presidential election from the very onset and effectively waged a proxy war on Iran on behalf of the British Foreign Office, and its spying apparatus MI6 in the aftermath of the vote, better known as the 2009 sedition in Iran.
BBC Persian is now focused on depicting Iran as miserable, undermining the Islamic system in the country, through employing deceived journalists and some so-called open-minded foreign educated people as well as anti-revolutionary escapees.
The Iranian Intelligence Ministry has now detained dozens of people who where members of a network serving BBC Persian interests in Iran.
The ministry later announced that most of the detainees were producing footage, news and secret reports for the British channel aimed at blackening the country’s image and to spread hate among the public.
It stressed that the information about the connection of the arrested individuals with the BBC is totally substantiated and solid.
In a recent statement, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry described the nature of the BBC-affiliated network and its destructive activities aimed at destabilizing Iran.
“In continuation of the research process, several other individuals related to the network were summoned and investigated, and several other related individuals who were unaware of the nature of the network were invited, and while they provided information and explanations, they were briefed about the hidden goals and the malicious intent of the network,” the statement said.
“Several individuals identified in the network requested to re-tell and publish their information and experiences from this network in order to provide a warning for others,” it added.
Iran creates fake blogs in smear campaign against journalists in exile
BBC Persian staff victims of online identity theft designed to discredit them, with family in Iran facing harassment as well
- The Guardian, Thursday 24 January 2013 10.51 EST
Iran has been conducting a smear campaign designed to intimidate Iranian journalists living in exile, including apparent death threats. Cyber-activists linked to the Islamic republic have fabricated news, duplicated Facebook accounts and spread false allegations of sexual misconduct by exiled journalists, while harassment of family members back in Iran has been stepped up by security officials.
Staff at the BBC‘s Persian service in London are among dozens of Iranian journalists who have been subjected to what appears to be an operation sponsored by the authorities and aimed at discrediting reporters in the eyes of the public in Iran.
It is not the first time the Iranian authorities have resorted to such tactics, but Sadeq Saba, head of BBC Persian, said the number of incidents and level of harassment has increased in the last few weeks.
“In comparison to previous round of harassment, this time the language they were using in Iran [against the family members] was more threatening,” he said. According to Saba, members of journalists’ families have been summoned to the intelligence service headquarters for questioning. One journalist whose parents were interrogated several times said they were told he should stop working for the BBC or risk being killed.
In recent weeks, the pro-regime activists have set up a number of fake Facebook accounts and blogs, purporting to belong to BBC journalists or their Iranian colleagues. Web users who want to access the real BBCPersian.com, might accidentally visit its counterfeit at persianbbc.ir. The fake site mirrors the BBC’s site in design and fonts but has completely different content. “Death of Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein: fabricated stories by Washington,” reads the headline of a recent article posted on persianbbc.ir.
Nafiseh Kouhnavard, a presenter on BBC Persian’s talkshow Your Turn, is one of the victims. In a fake Facebook account that carries her name and picture, she supposedly confesses to a culture of extramarital relationships among journalists working for the BBC’s Persian service. The fake comments attributed to Kouhnavard were reproduced extensively in Iran.
“You wrote about my relationships with my colleagues,” she is falsely quoted by a national newspaper in Iran as saying. “Swinging … is not only limited to me, in fact it is common and normal here.”
First carried in Vatan-e-Emrooz daily, the fake material has since been republished by state-affiliated news organisations. The fabricated contents are usually chosen carefully to target the most sensitive issues in Iran, especially among conservatives wary of western lifestyles.
In a separate article with a revelatory tone, Vatan-e-Emrooz dedicated a full page to Kouhnavard’s life and her work at the BBC, relying on information from the fake accounts.
- BBC Persian: A history of lies and plots (nuclear-news.net)
- Iran targets BBC Persian service by jamming signals and harassing staff (guardian.co.uk)
- Iran frees 14 journalists- report (bigpondnews.com)
- You: Iran creates fake blogs in smear campaign against journalists in exile (guardian.co.uk)
- Iran frees 14 journalists: report (dailystar.com.lb)
- Iran Using Fake Blogs To Target BBC Reporters (huffingtonpost.com)