Iran State TV Broadcasts Dissidents' Images After Apparent Hack

For nearly 10 seconds, Iranian TV showed the leaders of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and the name of a group of hackers who broadcast the message praising the dissidents

Maryam Rajavi speaking during the conference "120 Years of Struggle for Freedom Iran" at Ashraf 3 camp, which is a base for the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK) in the Albanian town of Manëz, July 13, 2019.
Maryam Rajavi speaking during the conference "120 Years of Struggle for Freedom Iran" at Ashraf 3 camp, which is a base for the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK) in the Albanian town of Manëz, July 13, 2019. Credit: AFP

Channels of Iran's state television broadcast images Thursday showing the leaders of an exiled dissident group and a graphic demanding the country's supreme leader be killed, an incident that state TV later described as a hack.

For nearly 10 seconds, graphics showed the leaders of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and the name of an account on two social media platforms, which claimed to be a group of hackers who broadcast the message praising the dissidents.

The MEK, now largely based in Albania, did not immediately answer telephone calls from The Associated Press.

The hack represented a major breach of Iranian state television, long believed to controlled and operated by members of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence branches, particularly its hard-line Revolutionary Guard. Such an incident hasn’t happened for years.

Iran's state TV acknowledged the breach as a “hack,” saying the case was “under investigation."

A clip of the incident later seen by the AP showed the faces of MEK leaders Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam Rajavi, suddenly superimposed on the channel's regular 3 p.m. news programming. A man's voice could be heard chanting, “Salute to Rajavi, death to (supreme leader) Khamenei."

Massoud Rajavi hasn’t been seen publicly in nearly two decades and is presumed to have died. Maryam Rajavi now runs the MEK.

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