By Press TV Staff Writer
The mainstream Western media is at it again with the same modus operandi and the same obnoxious objective – using a young Iranian girl as a tool in their murky games against Iran.
Previously, it was Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman whose death in mid-September last year, of natural causes as attested by medical reports, was hijacked by the Western media.
Now it is Armita Geravand, a 16-year-old girl from Tehran who collapsed in a metro station on Sunday, October 1. She has become a new fodder for Western propaganda mills against Iran.
The objective remains the same, as last year – to foment civil unrest and riots in the Islamic Republic and push the “regime change” project of Western governments, especially the United States.
Reports published in mainstream Western media publications in the last few days illustrate how these media organizations have become an extension of the US military-industrial complex.
What happened at the metro station?
According to credible testimonies and published videos, including the CCTV footage, the 16-year-old school student entered the Shohada metro station in eastern Tehran together with her friends.
Fatemeh, a classmate and close friend of Armit who was present at the time of the incident, told local media that they arrived at the metro station and everything was normal as always. They listened to music, talked, and laughed a lot, she elaborated, refuting Western media’s version.
Mahla, another classmate and friend of Armita, said she joined the two girls in the waiting area a few minutes after they had arrived, and the three waited for the train to go to school.
When the train arrived, the girls hurried to enter the wagon and Mahla entered first, followed by Armita, and then Fatemeh. Moments after entering the metro, Armita collapsed, right at the door.
Fatemeh, who was behind Armita, took her by the hands and Mahla by her legs, and with the help of several other female passengers, they swiftly moved her out of the wagon and laid her on the floor of the subway platform where they tried to revive her.
Minutes later, an ambulance arrived, and with the efforts of the metro officers and a lady who was likely a nurse, Armita was resuscitated and transferred to the hospital by ambulance.
What are the false claims?
Western media, which has traditionally been hostile to Iran, and individuals on social media immediately spread the hoax that Armita was brutally beaten by the police on the subway for wearing inappropriate clothing.
Sky News channel, citing a so-called “human rights group”, said Armita was “physically attacked” by police for not wearing a hijab, dragged out of the train and suffered “severe injuries.”
Ultra-conservative Fox News channel reported that the 16-year-old was “beaten into coma” by the Iranian police “for not complying with dress code rules on the hijab.”
Independent reported that she was “left badly injured after she was confronted by female morality police officers” at a metro station in Tehran, slipping into a coma afterward.
There were also fake reports about Armita’s mother being “violently detained”, which cited a notorious Norway-based group formed by anti-Iran elements with funds from Western states.
These unsubstantiated reports spread at a dizzying pace as most news channels, newspapers and news agencies in the US and Europe published them without a basic fact-check.
The same old propaganda exercise, which was also aggressively taken up by UK and US-based Persian language media (anti-Iran propaganda) outlets, sought to provoke Iranians against the government.
Despite the available evidence, including the CCTV footage, fake news and misinformation grabbed headlines worldwide, in a throwback to how events late last year were covered by Western media.
These media organizations based their reports on statements issued by self-styled "activists" and "human rights groups" based in Western countries who get paid for spewing anti-Iran venom.
Manipulation of CCTV video
Of the manipulations and distortions that Western hostile media pressed ahead with, the most obvious example was the distribution of a shortened, inconclusive video from the metro station.
Full footage published by Iranian media, including Press TV, showed a group of girls waiting at a metro station, who enter the metro as it halts at the Shohada station, and soon Armita collapses, after which her friends are seen taking her out.
In the shortened, edited footage shared in the Western web-sphere, the initial part where they enter a metro wagon has been intentionally cut, so it begins with Armita falling and being pulled out of a wagon, leaving viewers wondering what actually happened before that.
In other words, such video manipulation opens up space for the accompanying lie that the girls were warned by the Guidance Patrol about inappropriate clothing before entering a metro wagon, as well as for another lie that Armita was beaten inside the metro.
These two lies in the anti-Iran media were sourced by "witnesses who wish to remain anonymous" or "informed sources", which is a euphemism for fictitious witnesses, seen in numerous cases before.
The full video from the metro waiting area, as well as the multi-camera footage from the whole station, dismisses all lies, showing no police near the girls, nor any argument or physical attack.
The video also clearly shows that Armita collapsed within a second after entering, and such a short amount of time rules out the possibility that she was "severely beaten" inside the wagon.
In the full video, when her friends pull her out of the wagon and try to bring her back to consciousness, it is evident that there is no physical, verbal, or eye interaction between the girls and anyone inside the wagon.
In statements to the media, the girls denied that anyone had warned or attacked them, and their parents also stated that after examining the evidence they did not see anything that indicated an argument or conflict before or after the incident.
The anti-Iran hostile media termed it "forced testimonies," a common propaganda practice for statements that do not conform to their distorted narrative.
Some Western media reports said the family's cell phones were confiscated and that Armita's mother was arrested, which was also without evidence and denied by Iranian officials.
Furthermore, the recorded emergency call made by her friend reveals that Armita became unconscious inside the metro, without mentioning any physical attack.
All wagons are not equipped with cameras and security officials are not always stationed at the stations, but surely never inside the wagons, as metro travelers know.
Rumors about Fajr Hospital
The fact that Armita was shifted to Tehran’s Fajr Hospital also gave rise to unfounded speculation that the government authorities were trying to hide something about the incident.
The counter-revolutionary media emphasized that the hospital was cordoned off by police personnel who were trying to prevent people from going inside.
Later, when it became clear that the presence of uniformed forces was normal as it is a military-affiliated hospital, they began to question why Armita had been taken to a high-security hospital.
The reason she was taken to that hospital is simple: it is the closest hospital to where the incident took place, 1.6 km east of Shohada Square on Piroozi Street, less than two metro stops away.
Another rumor is that Maryam Lotfi, a reporter for the Persian-language Shargh Daily, was arrested and tortured by the police for trying to report from the hospital.
Lotfi had come to the hospital unannounced and asked for Armita's private medical details, which is deemed illegal and unwarranted, so hospital staff called security.
She was interviewed briefly by the security personnel and allowed to go. Reports of “arrest and torture” are part of the bigger misinformation campaign currently underway.
Who is spreading misinformation?
By carefully examining the roots of this misinformation crusade, it's clear that Western-based counter-revolutionary activists first started spreading lies on social networks, and the first media articles were published by propaganda groups operating under the guise of "human rights."
Among the latter, Hengaw, a Norway-based organization known for its attempts to cause ethnic discord in Iranian Kurdistan, and the US-based Independent Center for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) of a similar nature, stand out.
Both organizations claimed that Armita was “severely beaten”, and their false claims were immediately cited and amplified by big and small Western media outlets.
Zionist organizations such as UN Watch, its director Hillel Neuer as well as other individuals, such as pro-Israel Fox News journalist Trey Yingst, also helped in fanning the flames of this misinformation.
The so-called Iranian “opposition” based in the West had the fodder ready to exploit for their nefarious agendas. They took to social media and amplified it vigorously without even knowing who Armita was and what exactly had happened to her.
The amplification of the hoax on social media networks was done with the help of a large amount of bots, and fake programmed profiles, which in the first two days alone on the platform X (formerly Twitter) pumped hashtags with Armita's name to 300,000.
Using the aforementioned as sources, the Persian-language disinformation articles began to be disseminated by a well-known group of propaganda media under the control of the American and British regimes, namely BBC Persian, Iran International, IranWire, Radio Farda, and VOA News.
English-language articles were first published by the UK’s Guardian and Germany's DW, both with sensational headlines about the beating, followed by a wave of articles in other Western media.
False accusations against Iranian authorities were also made at a high political level, by German and American officials, who have never missed an opportunity to cash in on such campaigns.
First, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, called the case "unbearable", stating that it was "due to showing hair.” She was followed by Abram Paley, the acting US special envoy on Iran, who said he was "shocked" by the incident.
The whole case of Armita Geravand is remarkably reminiscent of last year's case of Masha Amini, as both started with baseless accusations and a massive propaganda campaign.
In both cases, Western media and Western regimes were hand-in-glove against the Islamic Republic. In Mahsa Amini’s case, truth prevailed. In Armita’s case too, the truth shall prevail eventually.