By Tariq Alhomayed
The day after Dr. Mohamed Mursi was announced as Egypt’s president, Iranian Fars News Agency – one of the prominent Iranian media outlets that promotes the discourse of the Supreme Guide, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp [IRGC] and the Iranian president – published a lengthy interview it claims it conducted with the new Egyptian president.
The Iranian Fars News Agency claimed this alleged interview was conducted by its correspondent in Cairo with President Mursi “hours before the final results of the presidential election were announced”. This interview resulted in anxious responses inside Egypt and abroad, particularly as Fars News Agency quoted Dr. Mursi as saying that “we must recover good relations with Iran on the basis of mutual interests, developing areas of political coordination and economic cooperation as this will create strategic balance in the region, and this is part of my Renaissance program.” The Fars News Agency added that the Egyptian president had “rejected rumours and media news about paying his first [official] foreign trip to Saudi Arabia” quoting Mursi as saying “I have not said this, and my first international trip following my victory in the presidential elections have not yet been specified.”
Of course, the Egyptian presidency, and the Dr. Mohamed Mursi campaign, rushed to deny this news saying that no such interview had been conducted. However at the time of writing this article Fars News Agency continues to claim that this interview did take place, whilst it remains available on the Iranian media outlet’s website in Arabic and Farsi. What is interesting is that the Iranian news agency has uploaded a complete audio recording of the interview, and after personally listening to this it appears that the speaker is not Dr. Mursi at all. This is also what Reuters news agency indicated, saying that the voice in the recording does not match the voice of the new Egyptian president. What is particularly “interesting” about Fars News Agency uploading an audio recording of this alleged and false interview is that this audio recording is only available on the Persian version of the website, not the Arabic. This is as if an Iranian reader will listen to the Arabic audio recording of the interview and follow the translated dialogue in Farsi!
In reality this Iranian media scandal is not the first of its kind, nor will it be the last, indeed there are a number of precedents for this in different Iranian media outlets, particularly Arabic-language media, including those being published in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. This is also something that is present in various types of media, whether we are talking about print media or television media. This is because fabrication and forgery is a famous game played by many Iranian news agencies. These Tehran-affiliated media outlets and internet sites carry out what I previously described as “news laundering”, namely Iranian news agencies or affiliated websites leaking different news reports, interviews and statements. This includes media outlets with close ties to Hezbollah and other organizations. Following this, the remaining Iranian media outlets report and promote this news, and at this point any statements rejecting or denying this news are of no consequence, as as it is already too late. The victims of this are not just states, but also senior officials and leadership figures, and even media figures. In addition to this, the media that has most participated in this scandal and fraud, over a long period of time, is the al-Assad media of all types, and so we must be aware of this!
First published in Asharqalawsat