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Riddled with crises, Iran’s regime ratchets up fake news campaigns against MEK

40th anniversary of the start of Iranian people’s nationwide resistance, Day of Martyrs and Political Prisoners in Ashraf 3 - June 20, 2020
40th anniversary of the start of Iranian people’s nationwide resistance, Day of Martyrs and Political Prisoners in Ashraf 3 - June 20, 2020

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, June 30, 2020—A batch of emails allegedly sent by MEK officials to supporters of the Iranian resistance have in reality been sent by fake accounts created by the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), new documents published by the the National Council of Resistance (NCRI) reveal.

The regime has made at least two fake accounts in the name of officials of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The emails were aimed at spreading misinformation about the upcoming Free Iran rally, the yearly convention of the Iranian resistance.

A fake account, made in the name of an Iranian Resistance official

A fake account, made in the name of an Iranian Resistance official

 

This ratcheting up of online propaganda comes as the mullahs’ regime is facing a deadlock due to domestic and international crisis. It is faced with an increasingly restive population that is calling for regime change on the one hand, while on the other, it is faced with international pressure because of its illicit nuclear activities, ballistic missile projects, human rights violations, and terrorist agendas. Under such circumstance, the regime sees the only way out of the impasse in lashing out against the Iranian Resistance, especially since the MEK has a prominent role in exposing Tehran’s unlawful activities.

Fake accounts, regime’s tactic of demonization

This is not the first time the regime publishes fake news against the MEK in the past month.

After renowned Iranian artist and MEK supporter Marjan passed away on June 7 in Los Angles, the MOIS published a fake replication of Mojahed, the journal of the MEK, along with pictures of 16 athletes and artists inside Iran who had expressed condolences over Marjan’s death. The MOIS then distributed this fake journal among its media to pressurize the artists and athletes to make statements against the MEK.

Fake MEK newspaper made by the MOIS with the pictures of 16 Iranian artists and athletes.

Fake MEK newspaper made by the MOIS with the pictures of 16 Iranian artists and athletes.

And only recently, a German court ordered a major publication in the country to retract fake allegations it has pressed against MEK members in Ashraf 3, Albania, which had been sourced from the agents of the MOIS.

The regime has a long history of publishing fake news against the MEK, especially when it finds itself in precarious situations. On June 18, 2003 the Iranian Regime published another fake issue of Mojahed, in which it wrote that the Iranian Resistance leader Massoud Rajavi and four MEK officials were arrested by U.S. forces in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, and transferred to an unknown location to be exchanged with “al-Qaeda leaders in Iran.”

Fake MEK newspaper made by the MOIS, in which it wrote that Massoud Rajavi was arrested

Fake MEK newspaper made by the MOIS, in which it wrote that Massoud Rajavi was arrested

On July 23, 2019, during the five-day Free Iran gathering of the Iranian Resistance in Ashraf 3 in Albania, and parallel rallies by Iranians in various capitals of the world, in a completely fake news report, the Iranian regime announced that Pierre Cochard, “a French diplomat resident in Israel”, announced in a series of tweets the trip of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi to Israel “aimed at meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of the Mossad spy agency.”

Later, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an official statement of “the French consulate in Jerusalem” entitled “The fake Twitter account on behalf of the French Consulate in Jerusalem” and stated: “The Consul General of France in Jerusalem, Mr. Pierre Cochard, has been subjected to an identity theft on the social network Twitter” and added that Mr. Pierre Cochard only communicates on Twitter, as well as other social networks, through the official accounts of the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem.”

Fake account of Pierre Cochard, a French diplomat resident in Israel, made by the MOIS with the aim to spread fake news.

Fake account of Pierre Cochard, a French diplomat resident in Israel, made by the MOIS with the aim to spread fake news.

The official statement of the French consulate in Jerusalem, dated July 23, 2019, saying that the “Pierre Cochard” twitter account is fake.

The official statement of the French consulate in Jerusalem, dated July 23, 2019, saying that the “Pierre Cochard” twitter account is fake.

On November 4, 2019, the regime once again used fake social media accounts to disseminate false information against the MEK. This time the regime used a fake twitter account of Alexis Kohler, Secretary-General of the office of French President Emmanuel Macron in Elysée saying that “The Secretary-General of the French Presidency has announced that the People's Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK) will soon be driven from France.”

The day after, the Elysee Palace denied this statement, adding that this Twitter account did not belong to Alexis Kohler and that this French senior official did not even have a Twitter account.

Fake account made by the MOIS in the name of Alexis Kohler, Secretary-General of the office of French President Emmanuel Macron in Elysée.

Fake account made by the MOIS in the name of Alexis Kohler, Secretary-General of the office of French President Emmanuel Macron in Elysée.

Tweet of AFP regarding the fake account of Alexis Kohler, Secretary-General of the office of French President Emmanuel Macron in Elysée.

Tweet of AFP regarding the fake account of Alexis Kohler, Secretary-General of the office of French President Emmanuel Macron in Elysée.

A “Free Iran Gathering” of the Iranian Resistance

A “Free Iran Gathering” of the Iranian Resistance

The regime’s efforts come as the Iranian resistance prepares for its annual Free Iran grand gathering scheduled for July 17, in which MEK supporters around the world and hundreds of renowned politicians, dignitaries, human rights activists, and parliamentarians from across the globe will take part. As they have failed to shut down the voice of freedom, the regime of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and its failed “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani, try with disinformation campaigns and spreading of lies casting doubt about the MEK in order to extend its rule.

However, an undeniable fact is that the support for the MEK, as the regime’s own officials have acknowledge is growing every day and the MEK and Ashraf 3 are becoming a source of inspiration for Iranian youths and women who dream of a free and democratic Iran.