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Iran accused of trying to interfere in Scottish parliamentary elections

Iran accused of trying to interfere in Scottish parliamentary elections

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LONDON: Iran has been accused of pushing false information online in an attempt to interfere in Scottish parliamentary elections.

A report by a right-leaning foreign affairs think tank found that the Henry Jackson Society found that “Iran’s activities in cyberspace were designed to undermine Britain’s constitutional integrity.”

The report states: “There are elements within Iran that are willing to intervene in British domestic politics to encourage Scottish secession.”

The study, part of a broader test of Iranian participation in foreign elections, said the social networking analyst company, Graphica, has been interfering in Scotland’s Iranian online presence since 2013. It states: “From October 2013 to March 2014, Iranian actors created a Facebook page entitled Scotsman Cartoon. , Named, but not affiliated with the popular Scotsman daily.

“This page presents a variety of cartoons with a wide range of visual styles but on a common theme: Scotland needs independence. Many cartoons attacked then Prime Minister David Cameron. Was, in which he was presented with a statue of English oppression.

It said the page had been shut down “for reasons that are not clear” ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum in September 2014. The Society’s report on recent attempts to influence Scottish politics – which is yet to be published but shared a summary with the PA News Agency. It highlights a Facebook account closed by a “fake Iranian online person making fun of Scottish Conservatives”.

It was one of 446 accounts closed for violating its policies against foreign interference, according to the February 2021 Coordinated Unofficial Behavior Report.

The following month, Facebook again took action against Iranian-controlled accounts, saying most of the activity was aimed at Iraq, but also at Israel, Afghanistan and the United Kingdom.

The Society’s report quoted the Times’ coverage as saying: “Behind this activity, people published memes, political cartoons and other material in Arabic, English, Pashto and Hebrew, including Scottish from the UK. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and critics of US influence in Iraq and Afghanistan were briefed on news and domestic politics in every target country, including the liberation of KwaZulu-Natal. He also mentioned the news.

The Society’s report states: “Unless there is a suggestion that Scottish nationalist politicians have encouraged or endorsed Iran’s intervention, this could lead to a possible second referendum on Scottish independence.” There is a deep controversy.

He said Iran has shown itself to be a country involved in Russian-style anonymous information campaigns, setting up fake websites and Internet accounts in an attempt to overthrow the political system of liberal democracies.

“Decided in this context, Iran almost certainly wants to disrupt our current election, most likely by participating in the Scottish Assembly (Sex) elections.”

Asked about the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland Radio program report, Foreign Office Secretary James Chalaki said the government was “not prepared to comment on such national security issues”.

However, he said the government had serious concerns about Iran’s “instability” in the Middle East and on a wider scale.

He added: “How the international community will respond to such allegations or concerns about cyber-operations will be on the agenda of the G7 meeting, with the Secretary of State addressing the Foreign Ministers of our economic and international partners. We will meet. “

A SNP spokesman said: “The SNP will always work to prevent the spread of misunderstandings. That is why we have led Russia to demand the publication of the report …”