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October 22, 2014 0

Pro-Hezbollah Hackers Target Media Group For Its Position On Israel

On Octo­ber 20, pro-Hezbollah hack­ers took con­trol of the Twit­ter account of a promi­nent Lebanese Chris­t­ian TV sta­tion, Murr Tele­vi­sion, known as MTV Lebanon, because the sta­tion allegedly failed to describe Hamas com­bat­ants killed in the fight­ing with Israel as “martyrs.”mtv-lebanon-hacking-hezbollah

The hack­ers changed the Twit­ter account’s cover image to a photo of a Hezbol­lah fighter under a Hezbol­lah flag and tweeted a mes­sage from the account stating:

“[Only] when you learn the dif­fer­ence between a mar­tyr and a killed [per­son], between an agent [of Israel] and a resis­tance fighter…. [Only] When you learn that Israel is the enemy, then your account will return to you. So we don’t for­get Palestine.@MTVLebanonNews.”

While no group has claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the hack­ing, Hezbol­lah’s media arm,Al Manar, praised the attack in a report pub­lished yes­ter­day that read in part, “For sev­eral hours today, the flag of Hezbol­lah kept wav­ing over the pub­lic page of MTV twit­ter account.”

The hack­ing of MTV Lebanon and sub­se­quent prais­ing of it by Hezbollah’s media arm could rep­re­sent a new tac­tic in the way ter­ror­ist groups in the Mid­dle East attack their oppo­nents online and spread their ide­ol­ogy to a wider audi­ence. It does not appear that Hezbol­lah has pre­vi­ously endorsed cyber-attacks against its opponents.

ADL has tracked sev­eral hack­ing oper­a­tions against Jew­ish and Israeli insti­tu­tions by anti-Israel groups.

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September 12, 2014 3

Hezbollah Android App Re-Launched For The Third Time

Update — 9/19/14: In response to the removal of the app from the Google Play store, Al Manar posted a state­ment attribut­ing the removal to a “cam­paign by the Jew­ish Anti-Defamation League” and promised to find “alter­na­tive ways to pro­vide the appli­ca­tion for Android phones.”

Update — 9/13/14: ADL alerted Google to the re-launched app on Sep­tem­ber 12. The app was removed from Google play later that day. ADL applauds Google’s response to Al-Manar’s repeated attempts to re-introduce this app. 

Last week, al-Manar, Hezbollah’s media arm which is listed as a “Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Global Ter­ror­ist Entity” by the U.S. gov­ern­ment, launched an Android phone app through the Google Play online store pro­vid­ing mobile access to its satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion, also known as al-Manar.

Hezbollah's al-Manar app for android

Hezbollah’s al-Manar app for android

Al-Manar adver­tised the launch of the app on the land­ing page of its web­site. The announce­ment asked media net­work fol­low­ers to install the app on their phones to receive al-Manar con­tent and news, includ­ing high pri­or­ity alerts.

This is the third time Hezbol­lah has launched an app with that func­tion; the two prior apps were removed from Google Play. In July 2012, Al Manar first adver­tised its newly-launched appli­ca­tion pro­vid­ing mobile access to its satel­lite TV. Avail­able orig­i­nally through Apple’s iTunes ser­vice, Apple soon removed the app for vio­lat­ing its terms of ser­vice. After the app was removed from iTunes, Hezbol­lah tried to re-launch it again for Android phones only, but the app was soon removed from Google Play as well. In March 2014 free mobile appli­ca­tions appeared on iTunes and Google Play to pro­vide access to Al Manar pro­grams via iPhone and Android smart­phones once more.

Hezbol­lah has attempted to use mobile apps in other con­texts as well.  In June 2014, Al Manar TVlaunched an online com­pe­ti­tion in time for the World Cup called “Expect and Win” that used the California-based instant mes­sag­ing ser­vice What­sApp.The com­pe­ti­tion called on users to sub­mit pre­dic­tions for which teams would win and offered prizes for select­ing the win­ning teams. In Jan­u­ary 2014, Al Manar started using What­sAppto deliver “break­ing news” via text mes­sages to sub­scribers and to allow its sup­port­ers to inter­act with the sta­tion.  In Feb­ru­ary 2013, the mil­i­tary branch of Hezbol­lah, The Islamic Resis­tance (“Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya”) pro­vided a col­lec­tion of free Farsi and Ara­bic lan­guage pod­casts on iTunes. The pod­casts pro­moted both the ter­ror­ist group’s and the Iran­ian regime’s mil­i­tant propaganda.

Con­tin­u­ous attempts by the ter­ror­ist group to re-launch their smart phone app demon­strate their deter­mi­na­tion to exploit mod­ern tech­nol­ogy to broad­cast mes­sages of hate and ter­ror­ism to their sup­port­ers worldwide.

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June 18, 2014 1

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media*as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

Iraq, Syria and Pales­tine vic­tims of Zion­ist sedi­tion
(Mehr News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary ses­sion, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the city of Mash­had accused the U.S. and Israel of being “behind all these sedi­tions” in Iraq, Syria and Pales­tine, while Iran, he main­tained, “seeks unity among all Mus­lims of the region and whole world.”

Iran is not pre­pared to work along­side Amer­ica; Even Hitler never com­mit­ted such inhu­mane crimes as ISIS has*
(Mehr News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Sec­re­tary of the Expe­di­ency Coun­cil and for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mohsen Rezai made claims that “ISIS is a pro­gram of the Zion­ists and reac­tionar­ies in the region who are try­ing to redi­rect the Islamic Awak­en­ing [Arab Spring] away from Amer­ica and Israel and toward Islam instead.”

Basij com­man­der blames US for volatile sit­u­a­tion in Iraq
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Moham­mad Reza Naqdi, the head of the Basij, said dur­ing a speech dur­ing a visit to a north­ern province that the takeover of large parts of Iraq by ISIS is “the result of the United States’ behind-the-scene attempts to sow dis­cord and they are cer­tainly the main mas­ter­mind of these events.”

Report: US train­ing ISIL mil­i­tants in Jor­dan
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Cit­ing an online Ara­bic news site, Fars claims that a Jor­dan­ian offi­cial dis­closed that “Amer­i­can forces trained the ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Lev­ant] recruits in a secret mil­i­tary base in Jor­dan in 2012.”

Iran­ian speaker: Ter­ror­ists strength­ened by US incor­rect approach
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

While address­ing a forum in south­ern Iran, Speaker of Par­lia­ment Ali Lar­i­jani said that America’s mis­man­age­ment and the “incor­rect strate­gies of the west­ern­ers, espe­cially the Amer­i­cans, in con­fronting the phe­nom­e­non of ter­ror­ism,” have in real­ity “strength­ened the ter­ror­ists in some cases.”

hossein-firouzabadi-iran

Hos­sein Firouzabadi

No pres­ence of Iran­ian forces in Iraq; There has never been coop­er­a­tion between Iran and Amer­ica*
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

In a speech dur­ing the funeral of a well-known IRGC com­man­der, Major Gen­eral Hos­sein Firouz­abadi, the head of the armed forces, said, “There are no Iran­ian forces present in Iraq and coop­er­a­tion between Iran and Amer­ica will never hap­pen and has no meaning.”

Iran, Pow­ers con­tinue work on draft­ing final deal in hec­tic day of diplo­macy
(Fars News Agency – June 17, 2014)

Speak­ing to reporters fol­low­ing a full day of meet­ings between Iran­ian and West­ern nego­tia­tors, Iran­ian Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Abbas Araqchi said the meet­ings were “con­struc­tive and positive.”

Seyyed Has­san Nas­ral­lah: With the lead­er­ship of Aya­tol­lah Khamenei out holy sites are secure*
(Kay­han – June 17, 2014)

Speak­ing at an anniver­sary event in Beirut, Hezbol­lah Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Has­san Nas­ral­lah reit­er­ated that “Hezbol­lah is ready to fight a war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq.”

Com­man­der: Iran’s ene­mies weaker than ever
(Fars News Agency – June 12, 2014)

IRGC Com­man­der Gen­eral Hos­sein Salami said dur­ing a speech while vis­ing the north­ern province of Sem­nan last week that Iran “is more pow­er­ful than ever before,” and its ene­mies are at their weak­est position.

Offi­cial: Iran’s aid help Pales­tin­ian Resis­tance over­come prob­lems
(Fars News Agency – June 11, 2014)

In an inter­view with Fars News, for­mer Hamas advi­sor Youssef Rezqeh said, “The relent­less sup­ports of the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran and its stances in sup­port­ing the Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment in the Gaza Strip in the last 7 years have helped the gov­ern­ment to over­come many prob­lems and obsta­cles. Rezqeh added, “The Pales­tin­ian resis­tance move­ment has always thanked Iran for its sup­port for Pales­tine, espe­cially after the (Israeli) 2009 and 2012 wars.”

Pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion on “Polit­i­cal Crimes” by judi­cial par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

New leg­is­la­tion passed in par­lia­ment will pro­vide a broad spec­trum of what will con­sti­tute “polit­i­cal crimes,” which will include indi­vid­ual or polit­i­cal groups against the sys­tem of gov­ern­ment, any move­ment to “reform” the sys­tem of the Islamic Repub­lic, and defam­ing or insult­ing the heads of the three branches of government.

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran­ian leader vows to pro­tect holy sites in Iraq
(The New York Times – June 18, 2014)

Speak­ing on Iran­ian tele­vi­sion, Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani warned that the Islamic Repub­lic would take the nec­es­sary steps needed to defend Shi­ite holy sites in Iraq from ISIS. “Regard­ing the holy Shia shrines in Kar­bala, Najaf, Kad­himiya and Samarra, we announce to the killers and ter­ror­ists that the big Iran­ian nation will not hes­i­tate to pro­tect holy shrines,” Rouhani said.

Saudis give appar­ent warn­ing to Iran: don’t med­dle in Iraq
(Reuters – June 18, 2014)

The Saudi For­eign Min­istry warned Iran to refrain from inter­ven­ing in the Iraq con­flict as Iran­ian author­i­ties have threat­ened to pro­tect Shi­ite holy sites at all costs.

The United States should not coop­er­ate with Iran on Iraq
(The Wash­ing­ton Post Op-Ed – June 17, 2014)

Michael Doran and Max Boot write in their opin­ion piece that “The idea that the United States, a nation bent on defend­ing democ­racy and safe­guard­ing sta­bil­ity, shares a com­mon inter­est with the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary theoc­racy that is the No.1 state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism in the world, is as fan­ci­ful as the notion that Neville Cham­ber­lain and Adolf Hitler could work together for the good of Europe.

With war at doorstep, Iran sees its Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards in a kinder light
(The New York Times – June 17, 2014)

Atti­tudes toward the IRGC are chang­ing as the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in neigh­bor­ing Iraq increases.

Iran is not an ally in Iraq
(The Wash­ing­ton Insti­tute – June 17, 2014)

Michael Singh, the man­ag­ing direc­tor of The Wash­ing­ton Insti­tute, argues that an Iran-America alliance to fight ISIS could actu­ally make con­di­tion worse in Iraq.

Iran, U.S. sig­nal open­ness to coop­er­a­tion on Iraq
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – June 16, 2014)

Ear­lier this week, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry hinted that the U.S. has not ruled out pos­si­ble coop­er­a­tion with Iran in pro­tect­ing the Iraqi gov­ern­ment against ISIS.

Iran eases con­straints on aca­d­e­mic con­tacts with West
(The New York Times – June 15, 2014)

Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s admin­is­tra­tion has begun lift­ing some restric­tions on uni­ver­sity col­lab­o­ra­tion with for­eign pro­fes­sors. The U.S. Trea­sury Department’s Office of For­eign Assets Con­trol has sim­i­larly eased eco­nomic sanc­tions to allow Amer­i­can col­leges to estab­lish part­ner­ships with their Iran­ian counterparts.

Soc­cer breeds nation­al­ism and anti-regime protests in Iran
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – June 15, 2014)

Iran’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the World Cup Games has wor­ried offi­cials that cit­i­zen may use the oppor­tu­nity to stage anti-regime protests, and have there­fore banned large game view­ings in cities.

Iran’s Zoroas­tri­ans cel­e­brate Per­sian roots
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – June 15, 2014)

The Zoroas­trian reli­gion, the monothe­is­tic reli­gion of ancient Iran prior to the Arab inva­sion, is expe­ri­enc­ing a revival of reli­gious life in Iran. Zoroas­tri­ans gath­ered last week at Chak Chak, a holy site, to cel­e­brate their Per­sian roots and pray in remem­brance of a princess who fled the sev­enth cen­tury Arab invasion.

Moham­mad Javad Zarif: Iran is com­mit­ted to a peace­ful nuclear pro­gram
(The Wash­ing­ton Post Op-Ed – June 13, 2014)

For­eign Min­is­ter Zarif wrote an op-ed express­ing his country’s com­mit­ment to a peace­ful nuclear pro­gram while warn­ing that “Illu­sions have in the past led to missed opportunities.”

Build­ing nuclear weapon would take years, no months, Iran says in report
(The New York Times – June 12, 2014)

The Iran­ian gov­ern­ment released a study detail­ing how long it would the­o­ret­i­cally take its sci­en­tists to assem­ble a nuclear weapon.

Iran’s Deputy FM: If nuke talks fail, we’ll resume enrich­ment
(Ha’aretz – June 12, 2014)

Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Araqchi said dur­ing a con­fer­ence in Rome last week that “Iran will return to 20 per­cent enrich­ment if a deal can­not be reached… fail­ure to reach a deal will be a dis­as­ter for everyone.”

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