Faculty and directorate members of the Haifa University were surprised over the past few days when they were on the receiving end of unusual warning messages on one of the Persian forums related to a website run by the university.
“Surfers, beware of this site, its purpose is to recruit spies for the occupying Zionist entity," the message featured on the website read, signed by "Representatives of the Revolutionary Guard.”
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The Basij group – a branch of the Army of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran, has been recently sending out warnings in Persian over the web. Iranian users are being told that the website, affiliated with the Haifa University, is a central location for gathering information on Iran and the Persian Gulf, and is in fact a recruitment spot for the Israeli Mossad.
Comments left by Basij representatives listed the email address of the Israeli website coordinator, calling him an “agent handler.” The announcement came after the Iranian government noticed many Iranian surfers were actively participating in the Israel-based website.
The Basij claim that the purpose of the website, created by the Ezri Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies at Haifa University, is to “recruit spies and intelligence agents to work for the conquering regime” and that the content detailing daily life in Israel is just a cover.
According to the warning posted by the Basij, Iranians who enter the site could be accused of spying for Israel.
“The statement of the Basij organization reflects the fears of the Iranian regime that Iranian web surfers could be exposed to the information on the site,” said Dr. Soli Shahvar, head of the Ezri Center.
“The warning is meant to deter Iranians from visiting the site by using threats and by false accusations of communication with the enemy and activity against the regime,” he said.
Ezri Center representatives said that every month, more than 105,000 pages are viewed, and a large number of Iranians participate in forum discussions on a variety of subjects, including life in Israel.
According to the center, the site has received large scale exposure, especially in Iran during Operation Pillar of Defense and in Gaza last November.
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