Like all totalitarian regimes throughout history, the Iranian government cannot tolerate any dissent, especially from within its own citizenry, since opposition from the Iranian people is a condemnation of their government’s policies and proof to the world it has no legitimacy.
This often extends to the point where oppressive governments rig elections in order to show popular support at the polls when in fact, there is no support for the regime. Take for example Nazi Germany in which opposition political parties were effectively outlawed and the parties in power received what they called an overwhelming mandate from the people.
The same principle applies to the mullahs in Tehran who reserved the power for themselves to decide arbitrarily which candidates met the selection criteria to even be allowed on the ballot. This rigging of the candidate slate has a long history in mullah’s Iran where certified nut jobs such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were “elected” in stolen elections that provoked the largest mass protests since the overthrow of the Shah’s government.
The regime’s current puppet, Hassan Rouhani, was the beneficiary of the same selection process that cleared the ballot of anyone else who might threaten him and his fellow mullahs and allowed them to present to the world a certified “moderate” face in order to guile the West into jumpstarting nuclear negotiations which the regime needed desperately in order to access $160 billion in frozen assets to revive an economy brought low by official corruption and gross mismanagement.
All of which explains to some degree the fanatical hatred the regime has for any Iranian dissident group. Its long-running efforts to discredit any group that dares oppose the mullahs include everything within its disposal; from diplomatic pressure, mass arrests and imprisonment, outlawing participation or membership, attacks in news media and even resorting to launching online assaults and social media campaigns denouncing dissidents. The tactics are as old as ancient times with the only difference being the advent of technology.
In terms of technology, the Iran regime has sought to create a wide range of online front groups, web pages and blogs dedicated to discrediting any Iranian opposition group and attempt to give the perception of a social media wave of support for its policies. Of particular focus for these regime false fronts has been the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella opposition group housing various resistance efforts such as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) or otherwise known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK).
The number of regime online fronts is stunning in many ways and reaches across all platforms to include social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN to websites and blogs and multimedia like YouTube. One glaring example of one of those sites is the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) which makes an extra special effort to regularly denounce the MEK.
Interestingly, if one scrolls down the CASMII website, you can see the affiliated links to the large universe of Iran regime websites, including such notorious efforts as Stop Iran War, Code Pink: Iran, Mossadegh Project News and Iran Affairs. It also includes official regime news links such as Payvand News which gives one a better idea of how closely aligned CASMII and its brethren are to the mullahs in Tehran.
A careful reading of the CASMII site reveals some odd features, namely there are no names of any staff, no quotes by anyone associated with CASMII, no indication who supports it, no way to mail a letter, place a call or knock on a door with these people. It is also revealing when one reads the statements and posts on CASMII, especially relating to the Iranian resistance, how broad sections are cut and paste jobs from regime news sites, regime press statements or articles written by regime supporters.
But the true nature of sites such as CASMII comes from what is not on there. No mention of critical comments made by groups such as Amnesty International of the Iran regime’s brutal suppression of the Iranian people. No mention of any stories about the support of terror groups such as Hezbollah by Iran. No discussion of the fixing of disputed elections and the killing of protesters in the streets of Tehran. No call for the release of American hostages being held in Iranian prisons.
The absence of comments is just as revealing as the garbage put out by these front groups. CASMII, like many of the groups listed as links, serves essentially as a link farm to help boost page views and clicks to favorable articles, mostly on sympathetic sites and news organizations such as Huffington Post, Guardian newspaper, National Iranian American Council and Buzzfeed.
CASMII and these other sites do little to add to any real policy debate over the Iran nuclear deal and instead are just part of the background noise being generated by the regime in the hope of drowning out the real debate taking place in town halls across America as congressional representatives and senators go home to talk to their constituents.
By Michael Tomlinson