(Left to right) Prince Reza Pahlavi, Nazanin Boniadi, Masih Alinejad, Hamed Esmaeilion

Leaked Document Shows Iran’s Regime Relishes Discord Among Opponents

Monday, 06/05/2023

Documents hacked from Iran's presidential office show that the regime is keen to highlight discord among opposition figures abroad to weaken domestic dissent.

According to a confidential letter leaked by the hacktivist group ‘Uprising till Overthrow,' the deputy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces for cultural and propaganda affairs, Abolfazl Shekarchi, presented a list of measures to take to quell possible protests and strikes by teachers and workers.

In the letter dated April 30, it is apparent that the regime is rattled by protests and strikes and is trying to find ways to portray them as different from the widespread antiregime rallies. The document said rallies on teacher’s day and worker’s day are an opportunity for anti-regime demonstrations.

It also referred to the poisoning of schoolgirls, saying that Persian media abroad seek to portray the country as stricken by crises and in a state of emergency.

The recurring theme in the letter is that the regime wants to make the best use of the differences among different opposition camps and discredit the foreign-based media.

The first page of the letter

The letter also indicates that a large part of differences among opposition forces are accentuated by the supporters of the regime, known in social media as the cyber army.

One of the suggestions directly points to exaggerating the failure of the Mahsa Charterand the George Town alliance of opposition figures. A group of prominent Iranian dissident figures, which calls itself the Alliance for Democracy and Freedom in Iran, issued a Charter of Solidarity and Alliance for Freedom after announcing its existence in a February event at Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) -- titled ‘The Future of Iran’s Democracy Movement.'

The alliance fell apart following the resignation of Canada-based activist Hamed Esmaeilion and the ensuing arguments between monarchists and supporters of other forms of governments.

The leaked letter called on several regime organizations to try to highlight the differences among the different opposition forces and portray them as dependent on foreign “hostile” governments.

The document also called for delegitimizing teacher and worker activists by finding pro-regime experts among them and highlighting their views in state media outlets.

The hacktivist group ‘Uprising till Overthrow' claimed on May 29 that it breached 120 servers at the presidential office, getting access to internal communications, meetings minutes, President Ebrahims Raisi’s online conference platforms and about 1,300 computers inside the office.

In the new cyberattack, the group is said to have gained access to “tens of thousands confidential documents” but is releasing them in daily batches.

Earlier in May, the group, affiliated with the Albania-based opposition Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) group -- People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, hacked into the Islamic Republic’s foreign ministry servers, disabling 210 sites and online services and leaking another large batch of documents.

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