Politics

Pro-Iran Fake News Factories 'Leveraging Russia's War': Cybersecurity Firm

May 20, 2022
1 min read
Pro-Islamic Republic English- and Arabic-language media have used the war to promote Tehran's worldview
Pro-Islamic Republic English- and Arabic-language media have used the war to promote Tehran's worldview

Iranian and pro-Islamic Republic propaganda channels are not just praising Putin's war on Ukraine but "leveraging" it to promote their own worldview, a US cybersecurity firm has confirmed.

In a report on Russia's disinformation campaign since February 24, researchers at Mendiant noted that outlets sympathetic to the beliefs espoused by Khamenei and the regime had used narratives around the invasion to take aim at "the West", Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Involved groups included Liberty Front Press, a notorious Iranian influence operation and promoter of conspiracy theories, as sell as a new outfit that Mendiant has dubbed "Roaming Mayfly". The latter bears a striking resemblance to what was in 2019 called "Endless Mayfly": a massive, organized network of fake Twitter and Facebook accounts posting Tehran-aligned inauthentic content exposed by Citizen Lab.

These platforms and others directed messaging at Arabic-language audiences in particular claiming that the US, in Mandiant's words, "fled from Afghanistan in 2021 and had now abandoned Ukraine, which deserved its fate due to its alliance with the 'American axis of evil'."

The writers addedd: "Similarly, English-language content averred that NATO had sacrificed Ukraine to avoid engaging in a war with Russia... Pro-Iran information operations have also leveraged the conflict to accuse the West of hypocrisy in its dealings with Saudi Arabia compared to Russia, by juxtaposing the war in Ukraine against the war in Yemen.

"Tangentially, assets leveled accusations of racism on the part of the West against Arabs and Muslims, noting alleged differences in its response to the conflict in Ukraine in comparison to conflicts in the Middle East."

They concluded: "Pro-Iran campaigns have leveraged the Russian invasion opportunistically to further progress long-held strategic objectives. We expect this dynamic to continue."

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Pro-Iran Fake News Factories 'Leveraging Russia's War': Cybersecurity Firm