IRAN: Mullahs’ Regime New Cyber Scandal
AFP's Tweet about French Elysee's denial of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence fake news
Posing as Secretary-General of the French Presidency on Twitter
Elysée Denial: This is not Alexis Kohler twitter account, he has none
The clerical regime in Iran, reeling from international sanctions and the uprisings against its malign presence in Iraq and Lebanon, and unable to counter the increasing activities of the Iranian Resistance in and out of Iran, has again resorted to fake social media accounts to disseminate fallacious news and boost the morale of its demoralized forces.
Last night and today, sites belonging to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and its operatives, citing a fake twitter account under the name of Alexis Kohler, wrote, “Secretary-General of the French Presidency announced that the [People’s] Mojahedin [Organization of Iran, PMOI/MEK] will soon be expelled from France!”
This morning, however, the Elysée Palace denied the report, adding that the twitter account did not belong to Alexis Kohler and that this French official did not have a twitter account.
The Agence France Presse (AFP) wrote that tweets by @Alexis_Kohler have been interpreted as though they reflect the position of Elysée through its Secretary-General. When asked by the AFP, Elysée denied that and said, “This is not his twitter account. What’s more, he does not have a twitter account.”
In a statement yesterday, November 4, 2019, the NCRI’s Committee on Security and Counterterrorism underscored that these lies amount to the rehashing of the Iranian regime’s unscrupulous ruse, which had posted six fake tweets under the name of Alexis Kohler, the Secretary-General of the French Presidency. The unverified Twitter account was created in February 2014 and had been apparently inactive until three months ago, as no tweets seem to be posted on the account. Only 46 tweets have been posted on the account since 40 of which are copy-pasted public material. The only original tweets are the six tweets posted on October 30th against the PMOI/MEK.
Peculiarly, all six tweets had been posted simultaneously at 4:06 am, Paris time, which clearly shows that the source was not the French Presidency, but the Iranian regime’s cyber army. None of the MOIS six fake tweets appears on any other known French Government websites or media outlets.
In an oft-repeated tactic, the regime’s cyber army creates fake accounts and keeps them inactive until such time when it decides to make the necessary changes and use them. Because the media and other social media platforms recognized that this account was fake and ignored it, MOIS websites attempted to regurgitate the tweets after six days.
Previously, on July 23, 2019, the IRGC had published a false report, claiming that in a series of tweets, Pierre Cochard, "a French diplomat resident in Israel", had reported a visit to Israel by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, "aimed at meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of the Mossad." Subsequently, The French Foreign Ministry stated, "The Consul General of France in Jerusalem, Mr. Pierre Cochard, has been subjected to identity theft on Twitter.”
On July 25, 2019, the French daily Le Monde quoted social media experts as saying, “Since two years ago, Iran has made a major investment in cyber theft and disseminating misleading information… One of the tactics includes creating fake accounts for foreign officials to publish news and information favorable to Iran… The profile of the French Consul General could be linked to a larger network that includes hundreds of fake accounts.” Le Monde added, “fake accounts linked to Iran… seek to mislead people in political circles and the media, and in general, pursue a more targeted strategy to expand its influence.”
Committee on Security and Counterterrorism
November 5, 2019
⚠️ 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