In contemporary conflicts, the information war between warring sides has assumed greater importance.
It seems odd when a third party not directly involved in the conflict becomes one of the main targets in such propaganda warfare.
Propagators are both regional and non-regional actors.
Writing for the Middle East Eye (MEE) Yossi Melman, an Israeli correspondent whom Wikileaks documents linked to Israeli intelligence services, states that “ though Azerbaijan is predominantly Shia, Christian Armenia is favoured by Iran, a third of whose population is of Azeri descent, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.”
Israeli-linked journalists and media outlets are not the only ones peddling this narrative, even if they are one of the principal propagators and beneficiaries.
Melman’s narrative is repeated by regional and non-regional media outlets as an established “fact”.
The reality is very different.
Prior to analyzing the reasons from a geopolitical angle why this is constantly repeated by various media outlets covering clashes in occupied Karabakh, let’s look at some facts available in open sources.
These are not disputed by experts on Karabakh.
Since the early 1990s, the Rahbar, Imam Sayed Ali Khamenei has on numerous occasions spoken out against the Armenian occupation of Karabakh.
There is a highly popular video in Azerbaijani blogosphere, featuring General Mansour Haghighatpour of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) directing the training of Azeri forces during the initial outbreak of the conflict in the 1990s.
In the video, General Haghighatpour is standing next to the former president of Azerbaijan, Geidar Aliyev.
In the widely read and publicly available memoirs of Iran’s former President Hashemi Rafsanjani on the conflict in Karabakh, he details Iran’s concrete military and economic assistance to Azerbaijan in the 1990s.
There are also reports by NGOs on Iranian fighters buried in Karabakh who died supporting Azerbaijan.
The Armenian side, for propaganda purposes often mentions how Afghans fought for Azerbaijan in the 1990s.
Azerbaijan and Afghanistan do not have common borders.
Afghan participation was facilitated by and through Iran.
This fact was once again highlighted recently by the US Congress-financed RFERL.
Over the past several days, as reported by al-monitor.com, all high ranking Iranian officials have spoken in support of Azerbaijan’s right to restore its territorial integrity in Karabakh.
The territory has been ethnically cleansed of Azeris and occupied by Armenian nationalist militias.
Thus, the question arises as to why the narrative of Iran being opposed to Muslim Azerbaijan is presented as “fact.”
The answer lies in understanding the broader strategy of anti-Iranian propaganda by Israel, NATO regimes and their puppet regimes in the Muslim world.
Since day one of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the primary aim of powers opposed to it has been to discredit the revolution as non-Islamic and rooted in Shia sectarianism and Persian nationalism.
Western academia and media outlets regularly promote the notion that Islamic Iran and Shi‘is in general are “pro-West” and have had a historical “alliance” with the Jews.
The corporate media also states how Iran and the US are “natural” allies; only the Islamic government in Tehran has disrupted this relationship.
If it were replaced by another regime, relations would be back to “normal.”
Also, the Bani Saud-linked media outlets constantly circulate the myth of Ibn Saba being the founder of the Shia school of thought.
The “pro-Armenian” Islamic Iran narrative is utilized as another tool to discredit Iran’s Islamic credentials.
It is also meant to reinforce the narrative of it being a nationalist or sectarian power, operating outside of Islam’s paradigm.
There is no other plausible explanation as to why leading academics and media outlets would peddle a narrative of a “pro-Armenian” Iran when widely available facts clearly disprove such propaganda.