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Who is Marzieh Hashemi, the Press TV anchor whose arrest has frustrated Iranian regime officials?

Hashemi is reportedly an agent of Ministry of Intelligence and Security under the cover of a TV anchor
Hashemi is reportedly an agent of Ministry of Intelligence and Security under the cover of a TV anchor

Report & Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Iran, Jan. 20, 2019 - Last week, an American-born TV anchor who was working for Iran’s state-run broadcasting channel was arrested by FBI when she landed at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri.

Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans, who is working for the English-language arm of Iranian regime’s state-run TV channel, graduated in broadcasting field in 1979, when the Iranian people overthrew Shah and Khomeini seized the power in Iran. Franklin then chose her pro-Khomeini husband’s family name, Hashemi. She converted to Khomeini’s extremist perversion Islam and became a radical supporter of Khomeini. “For me, embracing Islam is directly in relation to Islamic revolution of Iran and the characteristic of Imam Khomeini,” Hashemi told ESTEBSAR Iranian English state-run website on February 14, 2015.

Hashemi has lived in Iran since 2008, where she became an anchor for Press TV, Tehran’s principle English-speaking broadcasting channel. During her tenure, Hashemi has played a major role in helping the Iranian dictatorship’s propaganda campaigns. As a fanatic supporter of then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, she defended his presidency and justified his regime’s crackdown on the Iranian people who took to the streets in 2009 to protest against rigged elections results. “I witnessed demonstrations that were demanding security forces to actually crack down. They were saying give us, you know, we want security,” Hashemi told National Public Radio on July 4, 2009.

Hashemi is reportedly an agent of Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) under the cover of a TV anchor. Previously, the regime’s former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian told a regime’s TV interviewer, “The MOIS needs cover for collecting information inside and outside Iran. This means that we don’t dispatch intelligence agents to Germany, Russia or the U.S. to say, OK, I’m an intelligence agent, please deliver your information! MOIS agents are working under the cover of merchants, or mostly correspondents, most of our agents are under the cover of correspondents.” Fallahian also added, “We are working under many covers.”

According to Fars News Agency, run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hashemi enjoyed promotion and paved the steps of progress in the regime’s state-run media after producing her so-called documentary against the 2009 uprising in Iran. In the documentary, she tried to whitewash the crimes the Iranian regime committed during the uprising.

In her so-called documentary, Hashemi tried to prove that PMOI/MEK was involved in the murder of the iconic martyr of Iran’s 2009 uprising Neda Agha-Soltan. Neda Agha-Soltan was shot in the chest and killed by paramilitary agents of the Iranian regime (Basij) during the 2009 uprising.

The video of Agha Soltan’s death, recorded by other protesters who were present at the scene, went viral and was spread all around the world. Agha Soltan became a symbol of Iran 2009 uprising. Faced with public anger from the horrendous scene, the Iranian regime tried to deny the event. First, Tehran claimed the video was fabricated, and then it pushed forth a conspiracy theory about the CIA and a foreign country being involved. The regime also floated rumors that other protesters had shot Agha Soltan. At last Tehran tried to fish in troubled waters, claiming through its agent Hashemi that the PMOI/MEK had murdered Agha Soltan.

After Hashemi’s arrest, the Iranian regime demonstrated its full-scale support for its agent. Regime-led efforts included creating a hashtag on Twitter, official statements made the regime’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif using hifalutin words about the same freedoms his regime has deprived the Iranian people of.

Iran's state-run television network IRIB officially runs Press TV. Press TV which is targeting non-Iranian audience, is one of the Iranian regime’s propaganda levers for justifying the regime’s destructive role in the world and whitewashing its crimes in Iran as well as reaching a wider global audience for its ideological standpoints.

In 2012, the European Union imposed sanctions against the head of the Iranian regime state broadcasting network (IRIB) for playing a “key role in serious human rights violations.” In the aftermath of the European sanctions, the leading satellite platform Eutelsat removed Press TV from its satellite.

In 2003, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned IRIB and its then-director Ezatollah Zarghami for trampling dissents. “According to human rights groups, Iran is using state-media transmissions to trample dissent.  They point to distorted or false IRIB news reports and the broadcasting of forced confessions of political detainees,” stated the U.S. Treasury’s announcement. The result was taking Press TV off the air in North America from the Galaxy 19 satellite broadcaster.

In addition to the above, the Spanish government also banned Press TV’s Spanish channel Hispan and ordered it to be taken off air from the Hotbird satellite.

Under Velayat-e Faghih theory (uncontested rule of clerics), the Iranian regime is representing itself as a Caliphate of Muslims all around the world. So one of the press TV’s tasks is to provoke ethnic wars in Muslim communities and prepare the ground for the Iranian regime and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to interfere and execute its destructive agendas. For instance, such measures helped the regime in bringing its proxies to power in Iraq after the Iraq invasion in 2003.

In September 2010, the Government of India banned Press TV for its intentional measures in provoking ethnic tensions. A report aired by Press TV inflamed Muslim anger. CBS reported, “Indian forces killed 14 protesters and wounded scores of others Monday in confrontations across Kashmir fueled in part by a report that a Quran (Koran) was desecrated in the United States.” The report added, “[The protesters in Kashmir] were inflamed by reports on the Iranian state-run channel Press TV that the Quran was desecrated over the weekend in the United States.”

The UK government-approved Office of Communications Ofcom also removed Press TV from Sky in January 2012 and slapped a £100,000 fine against it. BBC reported, “Iranian news network Press TV has had its licence revoked by the media regulator Ofcom and will no longer be allowed to broadcast in the UK. Ofcom said the state broadcaster's English language outlet had breached several broadcasting licence rules over editorial control of the channel.” BBC also mentioned that the fine was imposed after the network broadcast an interview with an imprisoned journalist, which the Ofcom said had been conducted under duress.

In 2017, The Telegraph reported that “A Conservative candidate has been awarded a £338,000 payout after winning a libel case against Iranian state television channel Press TV. The channel falsely accused Nadhim Zahawi, who is of Kurdish background and was born in Iraq, of facilitating the trade in oil between Isil and Israel.” In his statement, Mr Zahawi said, "In my role as a member the Foreign Affairs Committee, I have often spoken out against the malign influence Iran.”

Among the Iranian people, the Iranian regime’s national broadcast IRIB is known as a notorious organization that oppresses the true voice of the people and spreads fake news about the reality going on in Iran. In their protests, the Iranian people describe IRIB as a disgrace to the people and the mouthpiece of regime officials and their whims instead of the true issues of the nation. As a subsidiary of IRIB, Press TV and its devoted newscast are part and parcel to the crimes the regime commits.