FM Javad Zarif accuses Iranian media of quoting US Fact Sheet and DEBKAfile instead of himself

In a bitter outburst in Tehran Wednesday, Dec. 4, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif complained that his country’s media preferred to quote debkafile instead of himself. Who tells the truth? He asked. I, the foreign minister of Iran? Or the Zionist website DEBKA which disseminates falsehoods?
It was the second time in this week that Zarif vented his frustration with DEBKA’s popularity in Iran. Tuesday, addressing a student audience at Tehran University, he accused the non-official media of his country of drawing heavily on foreign sources, such as “the Fact Sheet put out by the White House in Washington and the Israeli DEBKA” while neglecting to cover official statements.
He asked rhetorically: “Why do our news sites, which claim to represent Hizballah (Ed: in the sense of the Party of God which obeys Iranian Islamic Revolutionary precepts) so frequently quote the Israeli site DEBKA, which disseminates inaccurate information, instead of trusting the words of their own foreign minister?”

The students responded to Zarif’s grievance with half-jeering cries of “Mashallah! Mashallah!”

Our own Iranian sources confirm Zarif’s charge and understand his irritation. In recent weeks, debkafile was cited more prominently than ever before in most mainstream Iranian publications – newspapers, websites, blogs and also Facebook and Twitter – none of which minded using materials directly contradicting official regime statements.

References to DEBKA’s disclosures about Iran are often heard bandied about in parliamentary debates in the Majlis, and are quoted extensively in Iranian op-ed articles and political sites.
A search on Google under Debka دبکا in Farsi reveals hundreds of articles based on our Iranian coverage in a large number of Iranian Internet publications. Many others simply copy, paste our stories without attribution.

Three of the most influential Iranian publications are also those which quote debkafile most frequently, often carrying complete items. They are the semi-official Fars news agency, which is owned by the Revolutionary Guards Corps; Tasnim, another Guards mouthpiece and one of the most important sources of information on Iran; and Kayhan, which represents radical Islamist opinion and is a leading voice of opposition to President Hassan Rouhani and the foreign minister. 

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