Khamenei: US and Israel waging a media war against us

Iranian Supreme Leader claims the United States and Israel are waging a media war to discourage Iranians.

Elad Benari,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday claimed the United States and Israel were waging a media war to discourage Iranians, Reuters reported, citing state TV.

“Today, (Iran’s) Islamic system faces an all-out economic war that is carefully guided by a war room, but along with this war, there is a major media and propaganda warfare that is often neglected,” Khamenei was quoted as having told members of a senior clerical body.

Iranian officials have blamed popular messaging apps and social media campaigns which they say are organized overseas for protests against the flagging economy which erupted in December, spreading to more than 80 cities and towns and resulting in 25 deaths.

“The goal of this media war is to create anxiety ... and pessimism among people toward each other and the authorities, and to exaggerate economic problems in the minds of the public,” Khamenei claimed.

“Based on our intelligence, the US and Zionist (Israeli) spy agencies, financed by the super-rich of our region, have set up an organization for this media war and are seriously planning and trying to infect the advertising space and the minds in our community,” Khamenei charged.

His comments follow US President Donald Trump’s decision in May to pull out of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015. Trump recently signed an executive order officially reinstating sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian rial has lost about two-thirds of its value this year under the threat of the sanctions.

The cost of living has also soared, sparking sporadic demonstrations against profiteering and corruption, with many protestors chanting anti-government slogans.

Iran threatened on Wednesday that it will begin uranium enrichment beyond previous levels if the remaining parties fail to uphold the 2015 nuclear deal.

"We will not return to previous levels if our counterparts leave the JCPOA (nuclear deal), but will instead reach even more advanced levels," said Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

"We are at a considerably more advanced status than when we signed the deal. The country is moving ahead in nuclear activities at a favorable pace," he added.