VOA, BBC adding fuel to Iran’s protests: Iranian scholar

IRNA – The VOA Persian, the BBC Persian and West-based social media are trying to fan the flames of riots in Iran, said Professor Mohammad Marandi of University of Tehran.

‘The numbers of protestors have decreased a lot because the protestors are distancing themselves from the rioters; so it’s mostly riots that have been taking place now,’ Marandi told Aljzeera in a heated interview broadcast on Monday.

‘President Rouhani has spoken last night in another meeting and said that some of this has been instigated by countries that are hostile towards Iran,’ including US and its regional allies, he said.

Marandi added that social media applications are also being used to teach rioters how to make and use Molotov cocktails to destruct public property.

He said that certain social media applications do cooperate with the Western governments, like what happened in 2009 London riots.

Unlike with the West, Marandi continued, ‘these Western based groups, not only avoid cooperating with Iran, but they also call on people to attack police stations [and] they are teaching them how to produce bombs, yet they are not being blocked or stopped by any Western country.’

He also said that if the European countries, especially England, want to improve relations with Iran, ‘this is not the way for it.’

‘BBC Persian and the VOA are trying to fuel tension through the way which they are covering this.’

Apparently ignoring or ignorant of the programs being broadcast on BBC Persian and the VOA Persian, Aljazeera’s host denied the fact that these media ‘are trying to promote greater tension’.

Marandi replied that when it comes to countries in the West, ‘things are the other way around’ and gave the example from 2009 London anti-racism unrests during which the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was talking about shutting down social media and they ‘cooperated with the police to arrest these people’.

When the host, Peter Dobbie, tried to stay away from what had happened in his own country, and to focus on what is happening in Iran, Marandi urged students to do research on how BBC and VOA work when reporting on Iran.