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Iranian Regime Attempts Further Cyber Misinformation Campaigns

Iranian Regime Attempts Further Cyber Misinformation Campaigns

The Iranian regime is under increasing pressure from the international community. However, nothing can measure up to the domestic pressure it is being put under.

The people of Iran are continuing strikes, protests and anti-government demonstrations and have made it very clear that they are not going to give up until their goal of regime change has been achieved.

The regime has tried to dissuade further dissent in the country by cracking down hard on protesters. However, this strategy is not working because it is making people even more determined and resolute.

The regime has gone back to its old tried and tested cyber activities in a bid to distract itself from its dire situation. It has started, once again, using fake social media accounts to spread misleading and untrue news.

The main opposition to the Iranian regime, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has reported that the regime does this to “boost the morale of its demoralized forces”.

In its latest activity, the Iranian regime has posted messages on fake accounts that it is trying to pass off as statements made by the Secretary-General of the French Presidency. The regime posted that the Secretary-General, Alexis Kohler, said the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK-Iran) would soon be expelled from France.

However, the Elysée announced shortly afterward that the Twitter account does not belong to the Secretary-General, adding that the French official does not have a Twitter account at all.

The NCRI’s Security and Terrorism Committee has highlighted that the regime has used the same tactic before. The fake account created by the regime for Alexis Kohler was set up in February 2014 and six tweets have been posted under the official’s name (there are dozens of retweets of public material).

The six original tweets have been posted at 4.06 am local time, making it seems extremely unlikely that the tweets were posted from Europe.

The regime is trying to reuse its misinformation technique to weaken the opposition. Social media experts have said that the Iranian regime has put a lot of resources into this method of attack. However, it has not been entirely successful in its mission because social media giants have uncovered many fake accounts set up by the Iranian regime.

Earlier in the year, the French Consulate warned social media users to be alert following the regime’s fake news report about a French diplomat in Israel. The regime tried to pass off an elaborate story about the visit of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi (president-elect of the NCRI) to Israel where she was coordinating with the Israeli intelligence agency.

Twitter very quickly reacted and closed down the fake account. The French Consulate in Israel also quickly released a statement informing that the Consul General of France in Jerusalem was the victim of identity theft.

The regime’s resorting to such tactics shows just how desperate it is. And it also shows just how much of a threat the opposition is to the regime.