Iranian Information War

As information technology develops, information warfare capabilities grow and multiply, including opportunities to spread disinformation and manipulate public opinion. Undoubtedly, in its Global Hybrid War, Iran could not ignore such a significant trend. Since the 1980s, the Iranian regime has been seeking to export the Islamic revolution to the Muslim countries of the Middle East. They have taken various efforts, including propaganda and indoctrination. The emergence of the Internet enabled the Iranian regime to push their propaganda activities to the world web. For some time now, the Iranian authorities have been using their information infrastructure not only to export the ideas of the Islamic revolution but also to promote the direct interests of the Iranian regime, to wage information war with their main rivals – Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US. In general, Iranians have not invented anything new; they just copied the methods of KGB that are still used in Russia. Tehran just set the KGB methods up for their own needs. Iranian disinformation and propaganda have a large number of primary and secondary goals. If we look in detail at the aims of the Iranian disinformation production machine, the following can be noted. 1. Discrediting the US and Israeli policies in the world and the Middle East region. 2. Disseminating the misinforming rumors and information about Iranian dissident and opposition groups, including individuals. 3. Creating a positive image of Iran in the West and the Middle East. 4. Creating and promoting Iran’s image as a country guarding Islam and Islamic values. 5. Permanent information struggle and an information attack about Iran’s neighbors in the Arabian Gulf, primarily against Saudi Arabia. 6. Propaganda work directed at Shiite communities in different countries of the world, including Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Pakistan, etc. 7. Propaganda works to protect its allies – Bashar Assad, Hezbollah, Yemeni Houthis, etc. 8.Program of activities for the promotion of Persian culture, history, and language to underline the exclusivity, civility, and the superiority of Iran. It is hard to say that Iranians have achieved great success in each of the directions; however, the work is proceeding. Active measures of the Iranian intelligence services do not stop a single day, and despite severe economic hardship, Iran’s propaganda budget continues to increase. Iranian propaganda, directly and through proxy individuals and organizations, controls a large number of Internet sites in a variety of languages. Propaganda and disinformation are also spreading through them. Further, these materials are picked up by a vast army of Iranian Internet trolls and distributed in social networks. In the last five years, the Iranian propaganda has been consistently expanding and improving its capacity both in the West and in the region. Today, Iran’s propaganda capacity, in some cases, exceeds its real military potential. Of course, this state of affairs is a matter of concern for Iran’s neighbors, who have become the aim of the Iranian expansion.

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