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Canada’s Trudeau, misinformed by fake news, claims Iran is executing ‘15,000 protesters’

Rioters block a street and ignite fires in Tehran in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini. (File photo by AFP)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined the chorus of social media trolls circulating a brazen lie against the Islamic Republic, as a campaign of fake news targeting the country goes into overdrive.

Trudeau tweeted on Monday evening that Canada “denounces the Iranian regime’s barbaric decision to impose the death penalty on nearly 15,000 protestors. These brave Iranians were fighting for their human rights — and we continue to stand united in support of them, and united against the regime’s heinous actions.”

Within that tweet, however, there is a false premise that Iran is planning to execute “nearly 15,000 protesters” arrested in the wake of street protests and violent rallies sparked in mid-September by yet another piece of fake news – the alleged police killing of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini.

Trudeau’s post, despite being immediately dismissed as false by several Twitter users, remained up for more than 11 hours and was shared thousands of times before it was deleted.

While the Canadian prime minister may have been the most important politician who shared the fake story, there were countless others who piled on – whether intentionally or unintentionally – and condemned the Islamic Republic thanks to the incredible lie.

The fake report especially went viral on Twitter and Instagram, where an infographic claimed that “Iran Sentences 15,000 protesters to death — as a ‘hard lesson’ for all rebels.” Many celebrities also fell for the lie and shared it with their followers.

In that last two months, the Iranian social media has been flooded with false stories, many of which stem from foreign-based Persian media outlets, including the Saudi-funded Iran International news network, the BBC Persian, Voice of America (VOA), the London-based Manoto TV and Radio Farda, as well as thousands of bots and trolls controlled by the anti-Iran terrorist group Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) and Western spy agencies.

Earlier this month, Iran’s Fars news agency reported that between 14 September and 31 October, the five aforementioned media outlets ran at least 38,000 false or misleading stories about the Islamic Republic. Iran International topped the list with 13,579 false stories.

Protests erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini, who fainted in a police station where she was receiving educational training on Hijab and dress code rules. She was rushed to the hospital, but passed away three days later on September 16.

Amini’s death was immediately exploited by foreign-based media outlets, which alleged that beatings by police were the cause of her death. Three weeks later, an investigation into her death, ordered by President Ebrahim Raeisi, concluded that her death was caused by illness rather than alleged blows to her head and body. By that time, the protests had turned into extremely violent riots.

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