News : Iranian opposition
- Published: Friday, 08 November 2019
A Thread from a Twitter account claimed to be that of the French Presidency’s Secretary-General, Alexis Kohler, was reproduced on hundreds of websites belonging to Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, MOIS. Mr. Kohler had apparently tweeted that France had decided to limit the presence of Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) members in France in a bid to pressure Tehran to stop its measures to back off from the JCPOA. Iran has been taking gradual steps towards quitting the nuclear deal made in 2015 with the 5+1 to curb its nuclear program in return for concessions by the West.
In a matter of hours, Elysees Palace denied the tweet and emphasized that Mr. Kohler had never had a twitter account.
⚠️ Les tweets du compte @Alexis_Kohler_ ont été interprétés comme exprimant la position de l'Elysée, par son secrétaire général.— AFP Factuel 🔎 (@AfpFactuel) November 5, 2019
Interrogé par l'AFP, l'Elysée dément : "Il ne s'agit pas de (son) compte Twitter. Il n'a d'ailleurs pas de compte Twitter" ⚠️#AFP
But in Iran, where even official new agencies and media had jumped on the occasion, the affair continued.
The French embassy in Tehran intervened. A tweet coming from @FranceenIran in Farsi confirmed that “The identity of Elysees Palace’s Secretary-General, Alexis Kohler, was usurped. A number of tweets containing false information on the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) were made by a twitter account under his name. The account was suspended subsequently.”
هویت مدیر داخلی کاخ الیزه، الکسیس کوهلر مورد جعل واقع شد. توییت هایی در مورد سازمان مجاهدین خلق از یک حساب کاربری به نام او فرستاده شدند که حاوی اطلاعات نادرست بودند. این حساب جعلی متعاقبا حذف گردید. https://t.co/KFmA1bNuIY— France en Iran (@FranceenIran) November 6, 2019
But one would be terribly mistaken to presume that this was the end for the Iranian regime’s fake-news industries. Iranian official IRNA news agency had its own account of the affair. In a news piece, the same day titled “MEK stole the identity of Elysees Palace’s Secretary-General” IRNA wrote: “French embassy in Tehran announced the usurpation of the identity of Elysees Palace’s Secretary-General by the MEK!”
That interpretation of the French embassy’s tweet, in Farsi, was not the last act in the smear campaign against the MEK.
Remarks by two Iranian agents residing in Albania as former MEK members were broadcast yesterday on BBC World and BBC 4 in a bid to discredit the main opposition. The untimely emission by the BBC follows the official announced by the Albanian Police chief that agents claiming to be former members of the MEK were sought by the police for their role as informers and operatives in a foiled terrorist plan to bomb the New Year’s festivities of the MEK in Albania. In a week-long campaign following the police conference, MEK gave a full explanation of MOIS agents operating in Albania and elsewhere in Europe and the US to prepare terrorist attacks against the MEK.
Last week, two such agents arrested in the US last year pleaded guilty to the charges and further explained how they were recruited by Iran to work against its opposition and to gather security-sensitive information on the latter in order to undertake assassination attempts against the opposition. Both stay in jail awaiting their sentences.
The NCRI explained the reasons for the stepped-up campaign in its rebuttal to the BBC broadcast. It said that engulfed in unresolvable problems in Iraq and Lebanon and the whole region as well as inside Iran, “the mullahs have stepped up their terrorist activities and stepped up their campaign of demonization against the Iranian Resistance and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in order to make it appears as though that there is no alternative to their regime and that the West is better served by continuing the policy of appeasement.”
“The religious dictatorship’s desperation cloaked under the disgraced banner of “former PMOI members,” this time through Radio BBC 4 and the World Service, represents one such effort,” continues the statement.