Russia's ambassador to Tehran referring to an article about his country's influence in Iran has alleged that "Radio Farda is trying to bruise Iran-Russia relations."
Speaking to reformist daily E'temad in Tehran, which was published on 16 June, Levan Dzhagaryan claimed that the BBC and particularly Radio Farda have been damaging the friendly ties between Tehran and Moscow.
He was referring to a popular series of exclusive articles about Russian influence in modern Iran published by Radio Farda in May 2020.
Dzhagaryan also said in the interview that "the United States has no night whatsoever to play in the court of the JCPOA," the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.
A photo from the interview published on social media shows the Russian ambassador holding up his smart phone with the Radio Farda article visible on the screen.
Iranian political activist and reformist journalist Reza Alijani traced Russian influence in the IRGC's intelligence organization since the 1980s when he says Russian and Romanian officers trained Iranian intelligence operatives in areas such as interrogation, torture and suppression of dissidents.
As an example, Aijani quoted former IRGC General Alireza Afshari as having said that he took part in several training courses in Russia in the area of silent murders, that is killing individuals without leaving a trace. Afshar was fired from the IRGC and put in jail in 2009 for about a year for supporting the opposition Green Movement leader Mirhossein Mousavi.
Alijani also alleged that people working with the IRGC intelligence or those who are close to the organization including Reza Seraj and Hossein Taeb, are under the influence of Russia, amplifying remarks and actions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and spreading rumors about his alleged remarks by in praise of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. They have also claimed on various occasions that Putin and Khamenei maintain very close ties at personal level.
The ties between the IRGC intelligence and Russian intelligence became closer after a series of murders engineered by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry officers in 1990s discredited the Ministry and damaged the image of the Islamic Republic. Subsequently, Khamenei decided to boost the small IRGC Intelligence unit into a large organization that would carry out intelligence missions beyond military needs and control dissent in the country. The organization went through yet another major expansion after the 2009 unrest that endangered the regime and eroded its self-confidence.
Since then, the IRGC intelligence organization has been controlling every aspect of life in Iran and cracking down on political, religious, economic, cultural, activities and many social groups such as women, students, workers and environmental activists, putting scores of people in jail.
According to Alijani, the IRGC intelligence at times copies directives from Russian intelligence and implements them in Iran. For instance, they followed the Russian intelligence line about the origin of coronavirus and attributed it to U.S. entities.
The disinformation campaign affected most Iranians who subscribe to conspiracy theories, including Ayatollah Khamenei himself who repeated the disinformation about alleged U.S. involvement in spreading COVID in two of his speeches.