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Fars Editor: You Are All Betrayers and Agents of Zionists


By Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz Online

An Interview That Never Was

Following the publication of interviews with families of several victims who lost their lives during protests against the disputed June 12 election, and the families' denial, we contacted Abbas Tavanfar, the news agency's editor-in-chief to ask him about the interviews. While refusing to speak with us about the matter, he accused Iranian journalists who have been forced abroad of betraying their country and being agents of Zionism. 

Basij attacking protesters in Tehran on December 27, 2009. Basij was the primary force suppressing the people protesting in Iran after the June 2009 presidential elections.

During the past year, the Islamic Republic has referred to protesters against the disputed June 12 election as "disturbers." On the other hand, it claimed that several of the victims were members of the Basij. 

Hossein Taeb, then-commander of the Basij, initially claimed that 7 Basij members were martyred. Other officials raised the number gradually. Aziz Jafari, the head of the Islamic Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), claimed that 13 Basij members were martyred, while general Araghi, head of the IRGC's Tehran division, placed the number at 12.

These claims have been made while officials have until now refused to identify any of the Basij members who have allegedly been killed. Instead, they have tried to force and threaten the families of victims to speak out against the green movement and its leaders.

In this regard, the Fars news agency, which is affiliated with security and military institutions, published interviews with families of several victims, quoting them as saying that Mehdi Karoubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi are responsible for their children's death. All the families deny the interviews, warning that they would not allow anyone to take advantage of the blood of their loved ones.

The families of Meisam Ebadi and Sajjad Sabzalipour previously told Rooz in exclusive interviews that the Fars news agency had manipulated their words and published statements that they had never made.

The two families said that they plan to file legal complaints against the Fars news agency.

Despite the families' denials, the Fars news agency's editor-in-chief says that all the agency's reports are accurate and that the agency has the evidence to back up its claims. But he does not provide any evidence about this controversy, and instead makes allegations against journalists and other media.

Abbas Tavangar refused to be interviewed by Rooz. But before ending our communication, we exchanged remarks that are useful for shedding light on the matter:

Rooz: Hello Mr. Tavangar, I am Fereshteh Ghazi from Rooz. How are you?

Abbas Tavangar: You don't work for the benefit of the people. Our peopled don't trust you and view your words as lies. I won't speak with you.

Rooz: Mr. Tavangar, you haven't allowed me to speak yet. You published interviews with families of several post-election martyrs that are still on your website despite their denials. I called to ask if you are trying to help the families or do something else. Why have your interviews been denied by the families?

Tavangar: Our people don't trust you. They see you as liars and rumormongers. Our reports are true and backed by evidence. We can't discuss anything with you, who sold your homeland and are agents of Zionism. Our people don't trust you people who fled the country to work for America and the Zionist regime. Now you care about our people? America and Israel now care about our people?

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