In attempt to undermine London, Iran operating fake profiles promoting independence of Scotland

According to a new report, Iranian agents are targeting residents of Scotland on social networks and encouraging them to share separatist materials. In addition, websites were set up to spread fake news regarding the issue  

An activist at a demonstration in Glasgow in support of independence for Scotland. Photo:  REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

In order to undermine London's position and create general chaos, Iran is operating agents targeting residents of Scotland on social networks in order to convince them to vote in favor of separation from Britain in a future referendum. A report published by the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based transatlantic national security institute, said that as part of an extensive disinformation campaign by Iran, fake accounts are encouraging real Facebook and Twitter users to post and share separatist materials, and websites have been set up to spread fake news with the intention of influencing public opinion on the issue.    

'Iran has shown itself to be a country which engages in Russian-style disinformation campaigns, repeatedly establishing fake websites and internet accounts in an effort to disrupt the political systems of liberal democracies," researchers from the institute wrote in the report, whose conclusions were published in the London Times. "Judged within this context, Iran is almost certainly looking to disrupt our current elections, most likely those under way for the Scottish assembly."

The results of the elections that took place last Thursday, which were published on Saturday, showed that the Scottish National Party (SNP) maintained its strength as the largest party and will continue to lead the parliament for the fourth consecutive time. The most significant issue in the elections was the possibility of independence. The SNP is interested in separation from Britain and in holding an additional referendum on the issue (the first one was held in 2014, with 55% voting against separation and 45% in favor), as is the Green Party. Together, the separatists hold more than 50% of the 129 seats in the parliament.   

"It looks as if it is beyond any doubt that there will be a pro-independence majority in that (new) Scottish Parliament and by any normal standard of democracy, that majority should have the commitments it made to the people of Scotland honored,'' said Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who also leads the SNP. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, is strongly opposed to another referendum, as expected in his position. 

Johnson claims that the Scots made their wishes clear in 2014 and that an additional referendum would be "irresponsible and reckless". But the Brexit reshuffled the cards since the majority of Scots were interested in staying in the European Union. Polls show that an additional referendum on the issue of independence would be very close. Based on existing statistics, it should be assumed that the Iranian involvement in the issue will only grow.

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