Source of the photo: https://www.presstv.ir/
Abstract. The protests that have challenged Iran in recent months have reached the Western public space filtered through concepts such as human rights and women’s freedom, which has led to an erroneous interpretation by that segment of the international public opinion not well informed by the political, economic, and security realities of the contemporary Iran or of those from the West Asia.
Consequently, in this analysis, without claiming to be an exhaustive one, an attempt is made to present another facet of these protests, more or less authentic ones, insisting on two critical elements: the disinformation of international public opinion by a group of foreign state and non-state entities regarding the realities in Iran and the relevance of observing the hijab from a religious perspective.
Keywords: Iran, Mahsa AMINI’s case, disinformation campaign, hijab law, Iranian society
“Disinformation is a manipulation of public opinion, for political purposes, using information treated with hijacked means.”
More than 10 years ago, in his book Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of the How the Left Took over Your TV, Ben Shapiro anticipated the power, as well as the danger presented by the consumption of information received through the media used as an instrument to transform the society according to specific scenarios/producers: “The power of an instrument that spoon-feeds tens of millions at a time, on a twenty-four-hour basis, is almost unimaginable (…). “Television is not only an instrument of artistic expression (…). Hollywood, with its divine power, has succeeded far beyond its wildest dreams, shaping America’s styles, tastes, politics, and even family structures(..).”
If less than two decades ago it was said that the written or audiovisual media were those channels through which public opinion, interests, motivations and people’s consciences were influenced and directed, today it can be unequivocally claimed that this role has been largely taken over by to the social networks that influence their users even beyond the borders of their own wills and feelings.
This is happening through the increasingly advanced and exciting technological means that make contemporary society increasingly dependent on social networks when it comes to keeping up to date with what is happening in the world.
“I saw it on TV, I heard it on the radio, I read it in the newspaper, I saw it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Telegram” are statements that are often invoked to argue a point of view, to justify a certain attitude or behavior and sometimes critical decisions that are made by political decision-makers.
And with the proliferation of social networks and the increase in the number of users, state or non-state actors have increasingly focused on pushing their narratives to reach the target audience in their disinformation campaigns.
Consequently, it can be observed globally that the contemporary struggle for power and influence between state and non-state actors has been and is supported more and more by targeting audiences with personalized interpretations of events depending on the actors’ agendas more or less few visible to the direct or indirect consumers of these narratives.
Keeping in mind the above-mentioned trends and taking into account the rivalries between state and nonstate actors in the West Asia region the main objective of this paper is to see if the case of Mahsa AMINI was exploited and transformed into a narrative that would bend to the interests of several state actors with the aim to fuel the protests and to spread the unrest across Iran, and less with the so much vehiculated “human rights” or “women’ rights”.
But what happened – in reality – in the unfortunate case of Mahsa AMINI, taking into account the fact that in the online environment controlled by only a few states that narrative accusing the Iranian authorities of torture and abuse was promoted extensively?
II. The tragic death of Mahsa AMINI – context, immediate reactions and the official report
On September 16, 2022, a young Iranian Kurdish woman from Saqqez, Iran, named Zhina Mahsa AMINI, died in hospital after being arrested by Iranian morality police for improperly wearing the hijab in Tehran on September 13. According to mainstream sources, Amini fell into a coma during her arrest, as a result of which her family accused the Iranian authorities of torture. Mahsa AMINI’s death quickly sparked protests in Iranian Kurdistan and other cities in Iran; among the main initial slogans shouted by the protesters were “death to Khamenei” and “Woman, life, freedom”.
Thus, began a series of protests that lasted more than three months with different levels of intensity in their manifestation, with painful effects both for the Iranian society/state and for the victim’s family. By far, those who seem to have “benefited” from this unfortunate death of Mahsa AMINI seem to be exactly those states that have interests in dividing Iran by exploiting this case through specific means of subversive actions coordinated by intelligence agencies at the highest level.
Beyond the way it was interpreted and instrumentalized by certain states, the tragic death of Mahsa AMINI shocked and grieved millions of people both in Iran and abroad. According to the Iranian authorities, Mahsa AMINI was immediately treated by doctors and transferred to the hospital after she collapsed in the police building. The forensic report that was published by the Iranian authorities dismissed the suggestion of any traumatic injury and showed that Mahsa AMINI had an underlying vulnerability due to a brain surgery performed in childhood.
According to official statements, Iranian authorities have duly investigated Mahsa’s death. As a result, compelling evidence proved that her unexpected death was not caused by violence. The rush to condemnation and misjudgment by certain political figures in the US and Europe set a mode of confrontation which overshadowed the course of events.
Unfortunately for both the memory of Mahsa AMINI and the others who lost their lives during and because of the protests in Iran, the unconventional rhetoric that refused and continues to refuse to respect the authority and credibility of the Iranian government foreshadowed the chances of an international investigation impartial in Mahsa’s death.
Moreover, the position of some high-ranking officials from the United States and the European Union to offer support to the protesters was perceived by Iran as alarming and intimidating from several points of view, and despite the fact that there was footage available of when and where the young woman collapsed, her death was still described as a murder resulting from torture in the mainstream..
As such, taking into account the context of her death and the content of the forensic report, Iran considers the interpretation in the international media a deliberate distortion that was used to provoke anger and incite social tensions in Iran and aversion to the Iranian state in the international political environment. But what would be the reason why Iran has such a position towards the mainstream media, except the reasons already mentioned?
III. The exploitation of Amini’s death by means of spreading false narratives and the reactions of the Iranian authorities
It has become almost a tradition that after the 1979, several foreign states-sponsored entities to produce toxic content against the Iranian state in several languages, including Persian; among them the following entities can be found: American-sponsored outlets, such as Voice of America in Farsi; British sponsored TV stations such as BBC in Persian; outlets sponsored by Saudi Arabia such as Iran International; European sponsored news channels such as Euronews Persian; German-sponsored media such as DW Persian; French-sponsored media such as RFI, as well as a dozens of lesser-known TV channels and outlets.
It is already well known that these media corporations usually cover Iran in a predominantly negative light. However, during the recent uprisings in Iran, a huge volume of posts was found mostly on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, TikTok, Telegram, etc., meant to provide “propaganda material” to broadcasting agencies serving foreign agencies. It should be noted that this phenomenon is one dedicated not (only) to Iran, since it is specific to the contemporary era and is being used also in regard with other state/non state actors by approximately the same state entities that have been using it against the government from Tehran.
This is at least one reason to explain why and how a well-known military institution used fake accounts against Iran and how the bots that control the programs and operate millions of fake accounts produce the desired content using artificial intelligence are configured. Also, in the context of the hybrid warfare, it can be explained how these media institutions are actually paid to promote a political agenda established by their sponsors, promoting figures of the so-called Iranian resistance from abroad, or members of People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), known also as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK).
3.1. The main (false) narrative: “Peaceful protests”
The main false narrative that dominated the initial international media coverage of the protests in Iran is that they were peaceful and that the government’s response was absolutely brutal. This narrative was later refuted by the Iranian government with concrete data.
Thus, according to sources, at least 30 policemen were killed in different cities, mostly through brutal beatings and even lynching, while initial reports indicate that 180 bank branches, 290 ATMs, 12 ambulances, 385 cars, 1100 garbage cans and 128 public and private properties were destroyed or burned. It is noteworthy and important to note that a number of ordinary people, perceived by the protesters as loyal to the government, including women wearing the hijab and clergy wearing traditional clothing, were also violently attacked.
The Iranian authorities quickly realized that the protests in Iran were not entirely peaceful, as in many cases they escalated into riots that challenged the authorities’ ability to maintain law and order. Moreover, the situation was exacerbated when these fake protesters used social media to manipulate the circumstances, calling for the overthrow of the government and raising alternative flags to the official one.
In addition, there was further escalation when armed individuals and separatist groups in Iran’s border provinces began to link the protests in Iran to their goals, thus endangering the territorial integrity of the Iranian state.
3.2. The authorities’ response to the coup attempt
The fact that the “key protesters” were being coordinated from outside Iran became evident by the fact that they were producing videos that were distributed by the mainstream media outside of Iran in a coordinated manner, but without effective one-to-one verification of the presented realities.
Obviously, the riots were aggravated by these aspects presented by the mainstream media, because they incited to more violence, claiming more victims, and obviously blaming the government.
Being aware of the implementation’s steps of some specific state actors’ agenda, the Iranian authorities did their best to control the situation and avoid unnecessary clashes. That is why the police force has been instructed to act with maximum restraint in approaching and dealing with the participants in the protests and obviously to use the minimum force in stopping the waves of riots.
Where there have been reactions by police forces that exceeded those limits imposed by central authorities, investigations have been initiated to punish those responsible. As a result, those who committed illegalities – from among the law enforcement or protestors – were arrested, many teenagers were released, and the legal processes related to these riots were and are being respected accordingly. Iranian authorities claim that no verdicts have been handed down without a fair trial. Each of the verdicts are subject to appeal and in certain situations are presented before the Supreme Court.
3.3. The broader context of the recent events in Iran and the mainstream media outside Iran “innocent” re/presentations of protests
In analyzing the protests in Iran, first and foremost the issues of fake news and disinformation must be taken into account. Thus, at present, we can see that several issues presented by governments around the world and the media regarding the COVID pandemic are beginning to be proven to be false and actually serve various ulterior interests. At the same time, social media has been used extensively to amplify propaganda messages and take measures that are contrary to reality. Disinformation has also been used in a similar way to that promoted by the Nazis to control the population, for instance by repeating false messages until they became credible. One can see the similarity between the way the Arab Spring phenomenon was promoted by exploiting the self-burning of the street vendor in Tunisia with the exploitation of the death of Mashei Amini by insisting on the ethnic minority aspect in order to trigger protests in Iran to change the government. Moreover, the ethnic aspect was emphasized in the Western media by pushing the Kurdish name Jina – Masha Amini. At the same time, the political context in which this incident took place is important, i.e., two weeks after the talks in Vienna on the nuclear agreement with the aim of renegotiating it, as well as criticising the IRGC as a force of oppression in Iran.
The European Union (EU) was planning, at the end of January 2023, to impose sanctions on Iran’s sports minister, alleging that he had pressured some athletes to act in a certain way by violating their rights. Therefore, it appears that the sanctions are subjective and imposed randomly. On the other hand, the EU’s statements reflect the duplicity, namely that it is calling on the Tehran administration to identify the culprits for the death of the girl in question, but at the same time the EU is taking action and condemning Iran as if it already knew the culprit. In similar cases in other Western countries, EU authorities say to await the results of the investigation and not to pre-empt it.
At present, there is a vicious circle through the promotion of hate messages on social media, leading to violence against security forces and their subsequent reaction. Therefore, what is accepted in the case of others is not approved for Iran.
The purpose and role of the protests in Iran must be seen also in the context that one of the current challenges of the Iranian authorities is the control of social networks and internet availability. In recent times, the role of social media has increased greatly in Iran. In 2010, only 10% of the Iranian population had access to the Internet, whereas today more than 90% have access to the Internet and more than 50% use social networks. The Iranian authorities are currently concerned about Elon Musk’s move to provide internet services through StarLink. In this regard, the Iranian authorities have notified the US authorities that any illegality/crime resulting from the use of StarLink’s service will trigger liability on the US side. The Iranian Minister of Communications reacted to Musk’s action with a tweet, and Musk gave him a rude response (note: he offered him a highly-paid job at his company). The issue should also be addressed at the level of other states, how they would react if their government had no control over actions carried out on their territory.
The “Iran Crisis Updates” produced by the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute with the support of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), respectively one of the websites that “benevolently” monitored the situation in Iran from the perspective of the West, describes the evolution of the situation using language specific to a desired “genuine narrative”: “Ongoing anti-regime protests in Iran reached their three-month anniversary on December 16. (..). Nationwide demonstrations and strikes continue to shake the Iranian regime, presenting with one of the most existential threats it has faced since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.(..)”.
In addition to the standard description of the evolution of the situation in Iran according to the indications received, CTP presents and compiles almost complex data on the evolution of the protests in Iran. Moreover, the same entity claims that it did not record a single day without protests from September 16 to mid-December when they published the latest data related to the protests in Iran. The CTP also says that “protest coordinators and organizations have demonstrated an impressive ability to generate demonstrations and strikes on pre-planned dates throughout this movement”, which confirms the position of Iranian officials regarding foreign interference in protests in Iran. It is obvious that it cannot be claimed just by citing a single source that the evolution of the protests in Iran starting on September 16 and continuing throughout the months of October and November was influenced by interference from outside Iran.
A short imaginary journey into the regional modern and contemporary history and not only in that of Iran could reveal to a traveler back in time why the authorities in Tehran know who they are really fighting in situations like the one caused by the unfortunate death of Mahsa AMINI.
3.4. “Protests” and the social media. Reality vs. “narrative” in technical details
According to specialists cited by Fatemeh SABERI in her analysis, 62 million tweets related to Mahsa AMINI were published online between September 16 and October 9, with the participation of only 400,000 users. What caught the attention based on a detailed analysis is that 76% of users, including general users and non-bots, produced only 4% of the tweet content, and the rest of the users, namely 24%, produced 76% of the tweet content. These data demonstrate that this abnormal volume of tweets was formed in robot and quasi-robot, organizational and stream social networks and analyzed in the context of the death of Mahsa AMINI, not reality matters but “induced feelings”.
According to SABERI, currently “augmented reality” and “fantasy reality” that, with the help of digital technology, seem to be more important than scientific evidence if “delivered” to the general public according to the instructions, in other words, it matters a lot not necessarily the story itself, but how the “narrative” is sold/packaged/delivered to the still fast-food news consuming public.
IV. Understanding the context: the concept of “awra’” vs. human rights
“O Prophet! Ask your wives, daughters, and believing women to draw their cloaks over their bodies. In this way it is more likely that they will be recognized ˹as virtuous˺ and not be harassed. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Regarding the duties of an adherent to Islam, especially from the point of view of the clothing that she/he must respect, it must be known that wherever they are they must conform to those principles that derive from the Islamic sources of guidance, the Qur’an, the Sunnah (the recorded sayings and behavior of the Prophet Muhammad) and the decisions of Islamic scholars. In short, it is about the central concept regarding the clothing of a Muslim regardless of gender, respectively – hay’a – (physical) modesty.
The concept of modesty is approached in Islamic teachings from several angles. In physical terms, modesty is related to awra’, an Arabic term meaning “inviolable vulnerability” or “that which must be covered” and consisting of the private parts of a human being’s body.
As for men, the awra’ is from the navel to the knee (or mid-thigh in some rules), and for women, the awra’ is more extensive and a more complicated matter altogether. A woman’s awra’, with respect to men outside her mahram (family members and those forever ineligible for marriage with her) and non-Muslim women, consists of her entire body except her face and hands.
In practical terms, this means that these areas of the body must not be shown to anyone except the wife – in the case of the husband (or, if necessary, the doctor) and, in the case of women, it refers to what she must cover when it is in public – not when she is at home or with her family members in a private area.
4.1. Hijab law: How much do “human rights” matter in these protests?
Wearing the hijab in the Islamic Republic of Iran is not just about a secular law that can be canceled by the government in Tehran – simply – without having repercussions at the level of society, or without looking to change mentality of the entire society as a whole. The “Hijab Law” is considered to be of divine origin (see Surah al-Azhab), having strong roots in the culture and customs of Iranian society, and due to its value and symbolism it has often been attacked by supporters of the “liberal tradition” and the tradition of “republicanism”.
Therefore, the wearing of the hijab by Iranian women was often mentioned as the opposite of the idea of “freedom” and as a violation of “human rights” by those voices that were and are used as a means of political pressure against the Islamic Republic by those who want to bring to power in Tehran “puppets” who will play their game in this extremely rich, beautiful and important country from an energetic and geopolitical point of view for countering the influence of the Russian Federation, China and to a certain extent India.
4.2. Women’s clothing in Iran
Wearing the hijab in Iran is actually a modest dress requirement for female followers of Islam and equally a social responsibility adopted in Iranian law, according to which both men and women are expected to observe a certain degree of modesty in their behavior and social dress, in the context in which the overwhelming majority of people in Iran, as well as those in many Muslim countries, observe these requirements as part of religious and cultural customs.
However, this law cannot be and is not strictly enforced in Iran. The social norms of Muslim society have been adjusted to allow for a variety of fashionable styles in recent years, including adjusting the threshold for wearing the required hijab to a minimum, which has dismayed many religious people.
Besides, the issue of hijab is not only about religious aspects, but also about social norms and respect, not limited to the values of the Islamic Revolution. In some parts of Iran, wearing the hijab is demanded by society. Thus, in Iran, there is no uniform approach to hijab, it depends very much on the region. For instance, during the time of Shah Reza Pahlavi, the hijab was banned and protests were organized to allow its wearing. Moreover, the representative of the People’s Mujahedin (MEK), Myriam Rajavi, a resident of France, wears the hijab and no one is asking her to remove it.
The Iranian authorities do not support the idea that more rights should be suppressed just to favor a single one. The societal structure in Iran is stronger than the political system.
Therefore, as seen during the recent protests, there is a contentious social debate in Iran regarding the extent to which the hijab laws should be relaxed, as well as the laws regarding the appropriate response to violators. However, it cannot be disputed that there is a minority segment of women in Iran who are not satisfied with wearing the hijab under the conditions stipulated by the law. As in any democratic country, such a minority has no right to break the law, disobeying a religious requirement and resorting to violence to change the situation. Therefore, the Iranian authorities expect this minority to respect the law and respect the dress code.
4.3. The problem of women’s rights and freedoms in Iran: the reason and not the cause of sanctions
The term “women’s rights” has been widely used, invoked, debated in many fields and in various parts of the globe for the past 200 years, while in recent decades, discussions about women have become one of the important themes of global social movements. Activists for women’s rights believe and argue that all over the world, women and girls are deprived of their social, economic, political and civil rights. Although, if it analyzed carefully, it can be seen that the perception and expectation of what rights mean and freedoms from the perspective of women differ from one region to another, sometimes within the same state, not only from one state/continent to another. Even within the Muslim world, perceptions and realities are different, including regarding head and body covering. In the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it can even be observed that wearing the hijab in practice is not as strict as in Saudi Arabia, for example.
But, due to the interests of certain great or regional powers in most cases, mandatory wearing of the hijab becomes a means of political pressure against the Islamic Republic.
In this sense, characters such as Masih ALINEJAD, a former Iranian journalist, who currently lives in America and enjoys financial, political and even security assistance from the American state, are used. In exchange for this status, she became the “spokesperson” of Iranian women, campaigning for the implementation of “liberal values” in Iranian society. Moreover, she is behind numerous movements of women who campaign against the hijab; but, because such movements and characters are not always and do not appear for free in the ether, Masih ALINEJAD also launched campaigns for regime change in Iran, with the help of foreign governments. She is best known for the “My Stealthy Freedom” on Facebook and for the “White Wednesdays” campaigns that aimed to create rebellion against the hijab and laws in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
V. Promoting Iran as an “oppressor”: a precise objective of an un/democratic (hidden) agenda
The so-called “united” approach against different categories of picked adversaries, resulted in Europe isolating itself from important energy sources: Libya, Syria, and Iran. At the same time, Venezuela was subjected to a rather difficult to explain regime of sanctions and most hydrocarbon resources from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar are heading now to Asia. While people in Europe were being suggested to stop showering and the old continent had to buy oil and natural gas at many times the market price, immense armies are increasing their CO2 footprint with “n” restrictions whatsoever. Additionally, it is to be noted that the route Los Angeles (LAX) – San Francisco (SFO) experienced 40,120 flights in 2018 and 3,507,702 passengers in 2018 (on average almost 110 flights per day only on this route, every day in 2018). In a February 2023 report, the busiest internal routes top 5 does not include any European route as well, Jeju (CJU) -Seoul (GMP) dominating the top with 1.1 million passengers. Europe is not in this chart, and Asia Pacific has 6 out of top 10 busiest international routes followed by the Middle East.
While Asia is growing at accelerated pace, some Western Democracies are blocked in a colonial-like, approach on some neighbors or holders of important resources. The terms “democracy” and “freedom” have become in some instances ideological tools utilized in various types of internal/civil and international warfare. Once the traditional empires started to decline in the 19th and 20th centuries, the narrative changed from “we have the technological means and hard power, they are weak” to “we have democracies, they have dictators”. In the meantime, some democratic systems experienced transformation of laws related to financing electoral campaigns and contributions from corporations, privatizations and public accountability, among many other transformations. But all these systems still call themselves democracies, and this is propagated through corporate channels that follow finances, not necessarily the evolution of news or information to an extent that formal education has become a small segment of opinion-formation when compared to what the media and social media achieve.
In this context, a new assault of the propaganda machine on Iran, a relatively patient partner for European and American partners and a possible solid hydrocarbon supplier (or what Canada calls green/blue hydrogen), has been revealed by the tweet published and deleted by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. The tweet claimed in November 2022 that Iran (the oppressor, “regime”, etc.) sentenced 15000 Iranians to death following the protests. The tweet was deleted after 12 hours, and the information was flagged as false, but the damage was done and PM Trudeau did not resign. This raises a fundamental question: are politicians accountable for their acts towards the people, and how? Will Canadians suffer for such questionable behavior if they do not oust PM Trudeau? The democratic process theoretically allows protests, that theoretically should lead to resignations, but is it really still the case? When we analyze the case of Great Britain, that probably registered a high number of not-directly-elected PMs, big political failures hardly lead to accountability. It is more the political confrontations that lead to consequences, and less the consistency in carrying out politics. The other important question is also whether the action benefited PM Trudeau or Canada more, or the parties that run social media by increasing its popularity. As a bank needs ever more transactions, a social media platform needs more tweets, views and other interactions.
Was PM Trudeau a victim in attacking an alleged oppressor? It is hardly the case that an Iranian official attacks Canada or its representatives. The so-called socializing on social media became impregnated with many anti-socializing, propaganda, and an indirect contribution to an advisor of any PM or president can easily translate into an attack on whoever is more susceptible. In the narrative shifting from having to your job towards the electorate to “you have to tweet, post, be social”, delivering something has apparently become more important than delivering only you have something to deliver. This is diluting the significance and impact of real achievements, and distracts societies’ attention. But this has become a must, globally.
Or hasn’t yet? Well, we can only cover only with the duvet that we have. Especially the former colonial powers’ governments strive to deliver positive messages also when this is not reflecting reality. And when no successes are achieved, the “values” are brought on table, confirming to the public that a success has still been achieved by not gaining anything, but being what they always were.
Bringing any sort success on the table can take many forms. Military or non-military influencing campaigns on social media platforms can represent an example and can aim to present any result as a success or create chaos in adversary camps, but a traditional warfare tactic is to attract and instrumentalize parties not involved in conflicts and transform them into defectors. The British master this art of war, and in the campaign against Iran this has been demonstrated once again. The Iranian-born journalist Saeed Kamali Dehghan has helped a British team to stage a film that presented the death of Neda Agha-Soltan on 20 June 2009. In a democratic society, one would believe that every documentary pursuit the truth, and the freedom of expression always leads to good results. But in 2020, Dehghan confessed that he regrets having contributed to the documentary. The alleged “oppressor” Iran did not execute him. Apparently, it was his own decision, which he admitted. But in 2010, he was rewarded with the title “Journalist of the Year” by the Foreign Press Association and co-received a Peabody Award in 2011.
VI. Instead of conclusions: Promoting dialogue and negotiating the human rights – but in an adequate context
Leaving aside the hijab law from Iran exploited by various state and non-state entities in the West, the territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs are among the most fundamental principles of international law, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. These principles constitute the very basis of the rules-based international order.
On the one hand, social norms, indigenous culture, religious requirements, including dress codes, national dress and lifestyle, and even disputes and rivalries between pro- or anti-government political parties are the internal affairs of each state, UN member or not. As it is already known, failure to respect these principles has had catastrophic consequences in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, etc.
On the other hand, regarding the social discontent in Iran related to the hijab law, the Iranian authorities understand that it takes time and goodwill from the protesters and the authorities alike to discuss those aspects that want to be clarified within the limits of the law and that nothing can better serve a true search for understanding during an ongoing controversy that is caused by highly complex political and socio-economic factors than honest conversations.
And last but not least, these protests (or at least their initial version, in principle a peaceful one) must be seen and analyzed in a natural dynamic of the evolution of a society that, after 40 years since the Islamic Revolution, is trying to adapt the general legislative framework to the real and genuine needs of the population and to the same extent to respect the fundamental values and principles of the Islamic Republic, without any outside pressure pushed through subversive actions and disinformation campaigns.
In other words, changing a law or the mentality of a society cannot be imposed from the outside and equally cannot happen overnight, especially without taking into account the values and principles that govern a complex society like Iran’s for more than a millennium.
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 Shapiro, Ben. Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of the How the Left Took over Your TV. Broadside Books, 2012, p.34.
 Ibid. p.26.
 Ibid., p.43.
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About the author:
Flavius CABA-MARIA is the President of the Middle East Political and Economic Institute. Prof. Ecaterina MATOI is the Program Director at the Middle East Political and Economic Institute