Iran’s ultraconservatives push to take control of state TV

The ultra-conservatives appear to be completing the takeover of Iranian state television, also known as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Organization (IRIB).

The push to take over the country’s only broadcasting organization began in December 2021 with the appointment of Vahid Jalili as the IRIB’s acting head for cultural affairs and political ‘evolution’.

The IRIB operates under the supervision of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office, so changes must have received his approval.

Vahid Jalili is the brother of Saeed Jalili, former chief nuclear negotiator and presidential candidate of the ultraconservative Paydari party in 2017. Saeed Jalili and Payman Jebelli, Head of IRIB were close colleagues in the Supreme National Security Council in the early 2010s.

It only took a few months for Vahid Jalili to begin the “evolution” of the IRIB. At the beginning of May, he chose the ultra-conservative Mohsen Barmahani as TV operations assistant. In less than a week, Barmahani, whose previous post was head of the documentary department of Iran’s English-language all-news channel Press TV, appointed new managers for six of IRIB’s main channels.

Like Barmahani himself, all the new chain chiefs are hardliners close to the Paydari party. The IRIB Public Relations Office celebrated the appointments by releasing a poster which showed the photos of Mohsen Barmahani and Meysam Moradi Binabaj who was appointed as Channel 1 chief, and the new directors of other channels.

Jalili brothers. Vahid Jalili on the right

Channel 3 boss Ali Forughi has been reinstated. Vahid Rahimian, an Iranian filmmaker, wrote in a post on Twitteryou that all the new directors belong to the ultra-conservative group Ammariun close to former nuclear negotiator Saïd Jalili and that they are all members of the ultra-conservative group Paydari [Steadfastness] To party. Ammarium is also close to the cultural wing of the Revolutionary Guards, IRGC.

A report from Iran International earlier this year revealed that many IRGC intelligence officers were in charge of IRIB’s information operations.

The reformist news site Ensaf News also confirmed that “almost all new state TV executives are close to Saeed Jalili”, but warned that “instead of announcing an ‘evolution’, the appointments marked a resemblance to the management style of the head of the third channel, Ali Foroughi”, who is a relative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and is known for his despotic management and the dismissal of some of the popular TV personalities such as sports commentator Adel Ferdowsipour who were not quite his obedient.

Ensaf News noted that the appointments were at odds with Jebelli’s promise to “Give voice to the voiceless”, when he was appointed head of the IRIB in 2021. The Paydari and Saeed Jalili are no shortage of media because they control almost the whole state. – the print media owned by Iran, the official IRNA news agency, as well as some of the main Iranian news sites, including their spokesperson Raja News.

The new leaders have held key positions at the Ammariun Film Festival and the IRGC’s Owj Media Center which produces films and TV series that propagate the ideological line of thought of the extremists. One of the center’s well-known productions is the television series Gando about the alleged infiltration of foreign elements and Iranian liberals into key organizations such as the Foreign Ministry.

The official IRNA news agency described the new leaders as “young revolutionaries”, a characteristic first mentioned by Khamenei as the new generation that will lead the Islamic Republic in its 40 second years.

According to the IRIB Young Journalists Club, the oldest of the new managers was born in 1974, while the others were born between 1981 and 1988.

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