In an article on Friday, CNN revealed how the Iranian regime has been operating the “American Herald Tribune.” This website which describes itself as a “genuinely independent online media outlet” was founded in 2015, published in English and pays Americans to write articles.
“A Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business that company staff who looked into the website’s Facebook page say it was linked to Iranian state media. Facebook removed the page in 2018. FireEye, a top cybersecurity company, says it assessed with ‘moderate confidence’ that the website originates in Iran and is part of a much larger influence operation,” read the CNN report.
“The new details about alleged Iranian ties to the American Herald Tribune shed light on how the country has attempted to run a years-long covert online influence campaign targeting the United States,” CNN added.
— Ali Safavi (@amsafavi) January 25, 2020
Since its set up in 2015, American Herald Tribune has focused mainly on demonizing the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran. This website has already published more than half a dozen articles against the MEK and NCRI.
In its articles, this website has repeated the Iranian regime’s lies about the MEK and has given coverage to the regime’s fake news. Regurgitating these allegations, that had been rejected by the highest courts in Europe and the United States, only confirms that this website is a mere front website for the Iranian regime’s Ministry of intelligence and Security (MOIS).
"For too long #Iran lobbies have worked to divide us through lies& by propaganda, this must stop. We must put an end on the MOIS disinformation &stop the lobbies' echo-Chamber against the #MEK &the #NCRI.We need 2b focused on the threat of the #Iranian regime.#IranConferenceNYC pic.twitter.com/5RDlsamZRG
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) September 24, 2019
It was previously revealed by users on Twitter that “American Herald Tribune along with Balkanspost, another website run by the MOIS were hosted on the same IP address 18.104.22.168. Facebook banned both websites’ pages and Twitter had blocked the Balkanspost account.”
Almost at the same time, Google shut down Gmail and Google ad accounts linked to the same network of sites, which it also determined, were linked to Iran.
This is an example of how #Iran regime runs its disinformation campaign & abuses Western democracy in order to interfere & manipulate public opinion to shape their views to secure their own interests & spread #FakeNews.@foreignoffice @StateDept @NorwayMFA @SweMFA @DutchMFA https://t.co/vTHEQEMYFo
— Dowlat Nowrouzi (@DowlatNowrouzi) January 25, 2020
In another part of its article, CNN confirms the link between American Herald Tribune and the Iranian regime by saying: “The articles posted to American Herald Tribune are largely in line with the views of Iran’s ruling establishment. It publishes stories criticizing American foreign policy and attacking President Donald Trump and Israel. Often the criticism is not unlike viewpoints expressed on authentic US-based independent websites, especially ones with an anti-establishment perspective.”
“Lee Foster, who leads the team at FireEye that first uncovered the network of sites, told CNN Business that ‘indicators, both technical and behavioral’ point to American Herald Tribune being linked to an operation run from Iran,” read the report.
One of this website’s famous fake articles was published during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, making false claims about then-candidate Donald Trump’s father being in the Ku Klux Klan.
According to CNN report King’s KKK story has, since it was first published, been fact-checked by Facebook’s fact-checking partners and people sharing it on Facebook are warned that the story is false.
The writer of this article told CNN he was paid a couple of hundred dollars to write this article.
Ali Fallahian, the Iranian regime’s former Intelligence Minister, during whose tenure the greatest number of terrorist assassinations abroad took place, said on July 9, 2017: “The Ministry of Intelligence needs a cover to gather information, whether inside or outside the country. We do not send an intelligence officer to Germany or the United States to say that I am from the Ministry of Intelligence. A business or journalism cover is needed.”
Ali Fallahian,#Iranian regime’s fr. Intel.Minister:"The Ministry of Intelligence needs cover to gather information. We do not send an intelligence officer to Germany or US to say that I am from the MOIS. A business or journalism cover is needed."https://t.co/y9GvkIGfuS#FakeNews
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) November 8, 2019
CNN’s revelation once again confirms the Iranian Resistance’s long saying that those websites or so-called journalists slandering the Iranian Resistance are not merely criticizing the MEK and the NCRI; in fact, they are the regime’s agents using different covers to carry on the regime’s disinformation campaign against its only viable alternative the MEK.