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How a shadowy organization drives the IRGC’s media agenda

The IRGC-owned Atlas Media Group was founded following the 2009 Green Movement protests to counter “soft war” efforts. 

In October 2020, Ammariyon HQ, a unit believed to be associated with the IRGC cyber division, revealed in a Telegram post that the IDO had purchased Atlas for the publicized price of 20 billion Toman (about $20 million at the time). 

The Islamic Development Organization (IDO) is one of the several agencies controlled by Ali Khamenei, as Tehran Bureau has shown in previous reporting. Both Mehr News and Tehran Times are owned by the IDO.

Jabbari and the Atlas Media Group

In December 2020, state news outlets reported the death of Mohammad Saeed Jabbari, who had been the CEO of Nasim Online, managing editor of 90 Eqtesadi and CEO of Roshangari website, according to the reports. 

Mehr News Agency claimed he died of cardiac arrest, a common official cause of death during the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, at the age of 33.  His memorial service was sponsored by IDO Arts Center and Safir Film, which was founded by Jabbari himself. 

Several news reports provided evidence of Jabbari’s links to Atlas:

-Jabbari’s obituary in Roshangari says Jabbari mentored Syrian youth in a “documentary filmmaking course held in Aleppo by Safir Film and Owj Arts and Media Organization (IRGC)” and that Jabbari had been managing “Atlas Media Center” since 2018. 

-In another report linking Jabbar to Atlas, Shabestan News Agency published the condolence letter of IRGC Commander Gholamreza Jalali who heads the National Passive Defense Organization (see below). The report also states that Jabbari had been the head of  “Atlas Media Center” since 2018 and includes a poster of Jabbari with a quote from Khamenei from his meeting with a  “group of Atlas Media Group employees.”
There is no information available about Atlas Media Group in public databases such as Rooznameh Rasmi, but an issue of the Atlas Media Group’s weekly magazine is available. The magazine dates back to September 2, 2012, and features articles from some of the group’s media outlets, including Nasim Online, ‌Borhan News Agency, and Eshraf News Agency.

-Borhan News Agency was launched in 2011, according to Fars News, but the website no longer exists, even in internet archives. 

-Eshraf News Agency is also defunct, but archived versions of its website are still available.

Behdokht (better women), which is now defunct 

Didarmedia (which has a one sentence About Us: “We give you news no other media has access to”) 

-Mowj Ghanoon (law wave), and Iran Hastei (nuclear Iran) are also reportedly part of the Atlas Media group, according to, but Tehran Bureau was unable to verify evidence of their existence  

Afsaran Javan Jang Narm (young officers of soft war), which is linked to Atlas HOW, has a telegram channel. Afsaran’s website lists a series of supporters and colleagues which are all IRGC cyber army social media handles/ websites that push the guards’ agenda on various platforms including:  Enghelabi news , Radar Enghelab (insta, twitter, Aparat etc), Bisimchimedia (twitter, aparat etc ), Twitter Enghelabi  (telegram, aparat , etc), Andishkadeh Tabyin, Khiyaban Engelab (insta), Beheshte Shahr (insta), Arman TV (insta, apparat).

-Bisimchimedia, which recently made waves online with Twitter users calling on others to report Bisimchimedia accounts for being the first to post videos of forced confessions by Iranian women detained over their refusal to wear the veil.

Bisimchimedia’s media content is regularly used by Islamic Republic media outlets such as Hamshahri in their coverage of news about the arrest of social media users who defy the archaic and repressive hijab laws. 

Problematic content

-Atlas Media group was behind a cyber attack on Malia Obama, the daughter of the former U.S. president, according to Melliun News Agency.

Intentionally opaque ownership structure points to the IRGC

So who owns Nasim Online and 90 Eghtesadi? The lack of official business records and the sale to the IDO suggest that its beneficial owner is the IRGC. The corps is likely using resources from the IDO to disguise its control of the media organizations. To this end, the IRGC created Novin Rasaneh Sepehr Tasvir, the entity that holds the publishing rights to Nasim Online and 90 Eghtesadi.

This post is also available in: فارسی (Persian)

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