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The Iranian Propaganda Machine

1:26 PM, May 17, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Tom Gross, a Middle East analyst based in Israel, recently gave an interview to Radio Farda, the pro-democracy branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that broadcasts in Iran. Gross discussed Iran, Israel, democracy, and the Middle East, among other topics. The interview was translated into Farsi and posted on Radio Farda's website (accessible here).

Oddly, though, the interview also ran on the government-run Iranian outlet Fars News Agency in a piece on its website (accessible here). It's odd because Gross is pro-Israel and a democracy advocate. But while the articles in both outlets share the same photo and pretty much the same text, it appears that the Iranian-run outlet took a few liberties of its own. Gross writes on his website:

However, the Fars news agency removed certain key passages from my answers. For example, from the first answer, they took out my words “Were a democratic government, at peace with Israel, to assume power in Iran, that might be a different matter.”

And when I answered the question on Obama’s foreign policy, they omitted my words about the Iranian regime instituting a crackdown that continues to this day.

However, Fars did translate verbatim my thoughts about how it would have been easier to pressure the governments in Syria and Bahrain if the present Iranian regime was not in power.

According to Gross, this has happened before: 

Incidentally, the Iranian regime quite often refers to my dispatches in its media, though they usually spin things in them to suit their worldview. My dispatches are also often picked up and linked to in Arabic among pro-democracy websites in the Gulf, in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere. The site monitor indicates my website now has about 3000 regular readers in Saudi Arabia too.

Gross's entire interview -- the English version -- can be read on this website

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