By Ramin Mazaheri
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’
There was a time in Western journalism when this was the accepted moral standard; there was a time when Western readers were smart enough to demand it.
In order to launch Persian Gulf War II, The New York Times resorted to anonymous sources to fabricate war sentiment. Had they relied on actual facts to prove Iraqi’s famously never found “weapons of mass destruction,” then Washington politicians would have never had the a mainstream media fig leaf to hide their naked lies. The instigating author, Judith Miller, was never punished —she merely switched from the (fake-) leftist New York Times to the (very real) neo-fascist Fox News and a steady position at a neoconservative think tank.
In 2019, Iraq’s poverty, endemic corruption and debilitated physical and human capital is being falsely presented entirely as the result of Iranian machinations, as opposed to Persian Gulf War I, the interim decade of inhuman Western sanctions, Gulf War II and the subsequent era of American colonialism in Iraq. No high-class Western journalists will be punished for their warmongering — there will only be more revolving door hires.
Iraq’s four decades of hell are what the West has planned for Iran, and Reuters has repeatedly shown that they are all too happy to provide the propaganda.
Iran refutes Reuters’ report on riot death tollThe Supreme National Security Council official categorically dismissed the report on Monday.
Reuters knows very little about Iran, but they know enough to be dangerous.
They know that the unprecedented, revolutionary and hugely popular addition of what I call a “Supreme Leader branch” to the Western/Liberal/Bourgeois (Aristocratic) Democratic political structure (which replaced kingship with legislative, executive and judicial branches) has been spectacularly successful in preserving Iran’s obviously (Islamic) socialist-inspired revolution despite four decades of hot and cold war. Whether it is late founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini, current Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei or whoever comes next, a large majority of Iranians obviously find the presence of a constant, moral-minded, patriotic, politically-unifying figure legally lodged in the state structure as extremely socially necessary. Whether it is Imam Khomeini, Ayatollah Khamenei and whoever comes next — if history is any guide — the Iranian Leader also evokes genuine admiration to many across the Muslim world and even beyond.
That may explain why Reuters has been driven to denigrate Ayatollah Khamenei whenever possible, as part of their drive to topple the Iranian Islamic Revolution and restore capitalist-imperialist control of Iran.
In July I debunked their absurd, false, Iran-ignorant, and (of course) totally unobjective journalism which was on pathetic display in their 2013 article, ‘Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures.’
Unfortunately, Reuters is at it again with their latest creation, published on December 23: Special Report: Iran’s leader ordered crackdown on unrest – ‘Do whatever it takes to end it’. Before I go find some gloves — in order to properly handle their disgusting, death-provoking propaganda — let’s answer the question, “Why now?”
Their report came out just three days prior to a planned act of protest in Iran on December 26. Reuters has every interest hoping protests literally explode as much as possible in anti-imperialist, anti-neoliberal countries like Iran, so they did what they falsely claim was proper journalism: they relied solely on unnamed sources to multiply by a staggering five times even the highest death toll for the recent gas price hike protests; they relied solely on unnamed sources to claim that Ayatollah Khamenei demanded a monstrous crackdown. The goal is clear: spread false rumors to provoke more violence on December 26. With a few more of these, Reuters silently reasons, maybe they can finally destroy Iran’s defiant example to the world?
Enemies behind false-flag killings in Tehran riots: IranIran’s top security official sheds light on an enemy plot to increase the number of fatalities during the recent riots that several cities.
What was monstrous about the gas hike protest coverage in Western media is how it remained silent about the killings, drive-by shootings and horrifically self-interested treachery of a group which the West can never name: counter-revolutionaries. Indeed, it is the West’s goal to portray every death at the gas hike protests as having been methodically and diabolically planned by the Iranian government… even though every single Iranian is sadly, sadly aware of the thousands of innocents killed due to the decades-long presence of shah-funded, Saudi-funded, Israeli-funded and Western-funded mercenaries, fascists and gangsters inside Iran. Iranians will debate how many were killed by counter-revolutionaries, but they will never debate their existence. I described this reality in an article here.
But the phrase “counter-revolutionary” cannot be uttered in the West. However, these horrible groups are almost certainly the fig leaf of a “journalistic source” which Reuters is relying upon in their latest article.
First to claim 1,500? Not Amnesty, but the insane MKO cult kept alive by the West & Israel
Significantly, Reuters claim of 1,500 deaths was first promoted on December 15 on Twitter by Marjane Rajavi, leader of the terrorist cult the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, known as the MKO, or MEK, or PMOI.
It seems unthinkable to many Westerners, perhaps, but the MKO is even less popular in Iran than the reactionaries who want to restore the shah of Iran’s Saudi-backed son (monarchs collude together, of course). Quite easy to explain their lack of domestic popularity know: the MKO fought alongside Saddam Hussein against Iran. Then, in return for allowing them to stay in Iraq, Hussein had them massacre tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq.
So we have only two real choices here:
Our first choice is that the MKO has infiltrated the Iranian Interior Ministry (the alleged source of Reuters’ anonymous sources).
That is, with all journalist rigor I can muster, totally, laugh-out-loud preposterous. Given the level of anti-MKO animosity in Iran, and especially within the government (whom MKO assassins keep bombing), this implies that the Interior Ministry’s background checks are so non-existent that the entire Iranian government is as serious as gang of children playing make-believe in a treehouse. This is obviously not the case….
Reuters’ fake news verifies MKO role in riots: Iran’s UK ambassadorTehran’s UK ambassador says Reuters’ “fake news” about the death toll from recent riots in Iran further sheds light on the role of the notorious MKO terror group in the unrest.
Our second choice is that Reuters’ anonymous sources are merely MKO dissidents who are fabricating lies and exaggerations.
Given the ludicrous alternative, this choice is so obviously correct it barely needs defending. Any reputable news agency would see right through their phony claim, and any reputable news agency would have never run such a story. Reuters only did because, like the MKO, they are devoted to the extremist project of destroying Iran’s popular government. The treehouse of loony children here is comprised of the MKO, Saudi monarchs, Zionist Mossad, MKO-pushers John Bolton & Rudy Giuliani and the dotard queen of England… and Reuters.
How Marjane Rajavi could ever be considered a source worthy of credibility defies the comprehension of every Iranian citizen, which is exactly why Reuters didn’t mention the MKO by name. If they had said their source was the MKO, they would have left themselves open to immediate criticism. So they called their “500% more” sources “anonymous”, which has become standard practice by leading Western media when they need to fabricate a war.
But what does Reuters care about the well-being of the Iranian people? Their editorial line has always shown that they are fine with publicizing incredibly inflammatory material based entirely on false sources. That must be fun….
What if I did the same with France? Would you believe it?
In order to best explain the content of the Reuters’ article, allow me to give the French parallel, as I am PressTV’s longtime correspondent in France.
PressTV has spoken with three anonymous sources in France’s Interior Ministry. About 60 people have been killed during their 56 weeks of Yellow Vest protests, and only 12 people, as claimed by Amnesty International and the United States (both of whom are known to have a clear anti-French bias).
The figures provided to PressTV, said two of the French officials who provided them, are based on information gathered from security forces, morgues, hospitals and coroner’s offices. Apparently, not one of all of these people will go on record.
The administration of Emmanuel Macron did not respond to PressTV’s request for a comment, perhaps because we will provide no proof to back up our wild claims. PressTV rejects the characterization by France’s Interior Ministry that our article is “fake news” and that our figures are “speculative.”
At a meeting at his fortified compound of Élysée Palace in central Paris, described to PressTV by three sources close to his inner circle, the 42-year-old leader, who has final say over all state matters in the country, raised his voice and expressed criticism of the handling of the unrest.
“The Fifth Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes to end it. You have my order,” the leader known as “President Jupiter” and “Liberal Strongman” told the group, one of the sources said.
Macron said he would hold the assembled officials responsible for the consequences of the protests if they didn’t immediately stop them. PressTV assumes this was a reference to the Paris police chief, whom Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in March was sacked because, “Inappropriate orders were given to reduce the use of LBD [rubber bullets].”
For decades, the Fifth Republic has tried to maintain its neo-imperial influence across the Muslim world, from Syria to Lebanon to Mali, by investing the political and economic capital of Paris to back militias. But now it faces pressure at home and abroad.
This report has no author, only “PressTV staff”. Editing by Fazlollah Tehrani, Mahmoud Isfahani and Roya Sarraf.
Our Standards: The Principles of PressTV
With only a few obvious replacements, and the very real reason for the firing of the Paris police chief, this is quite nearly a cut-and-paste of Reuters’ “hard-hitting” introduction.
If I had written such a report, and if PressTV had run it, we would all deserve to be fired, discredited and kicked out of journalism. The French government would have the right to openly demand a retraction and apology.
Reuters’ report reads like a wish list of what they wish had happened. Their quotes are so perfect, precisely because nobody will ever ask to verify them. Their imaginings of the government discussions are just that – imaginings – because they cannot be proven in the slightest.
Their report is so absurd that it is clearly not meant for Iranians – none would ever swallow such nonsense whole.
Their report is mainly propaganda which targets their Western audience: by increasing the gas hike death toll by five (why not go for ten?), by portraying Ayatollah Khamenei as a billionaire monster, by portraying Iran’s 1979-created government (with a constitution which was massively approved in a referendum which saw huge turnout; even the popular vote to elect the members to the committee which drafted this constitution saw 52% turnout, a score which the US presidential election has repeatedly failed to achieve in my lifetime) as being without checks, balances and quite devoted popular support, Reuters aims to increase support for a Western invasion like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Mali, or a proxy invasion like Syria.
It is significant that Reuters and Western media have given very little attention at all to France’s Yellow Vests. The same goes regarding France’s ongoing general strike, now in its fourth week – it will surpass 1968’s in length, yet Westerners tell me they can’t find any coverage of it. PressTV stands by all we have written and produced regarding these critical socioeconomic events, and we have never resorted to anonymous sources and dangerously unproven imaginings in order to sway the French people.
Just like The New York Times, Reuters has shown that when it comes to the Muslim world they are not journalists but propagandists for neoliberalism and neo-imperialism, two ideologies with scant support by the masses of any nation.
December 26 will see something Iran has seen regularly since the end of the Iran-Iraq War – peaceful political protests whose demands must be examined, heeded and incorporated into public policy.
Reuters is hoping for 1,500 deaths on December 26, because Reuters weeps at the thought of Iranian peace.
Keep that in mind when reading their next propaganda report about Iran.