We have been informed in the past that EA WorldView is not necessarily the favourite site of those in the Iranian establishment. Although many officials read our coverage, they deny this to others in Iran, blocking the website.
So imagine our surprise when we learned this morning that one of EA's stories --- Josh Shahryar's "Bahrain Opinion: 'Loonies' and The Sins of Bell Pottinger" --- is racing across the Iranian media. Apparently, for all the dislike of EA's coverage of Iran, the regime can reconcile with us on a story which is about the Bahraini monarchy, not particularly liked by Tehran, and about a company based in Britain, also not liked very much.
The tribute begins with BarackObama.ir --- "In the Country Where the US Has No Embassy" --- set up two years ago to take aim at the US President. Its summary headlines, "Bahrain Regime Pays Money to Have Wikipedia's Articles", or in the Persian version, "Removal of Al Khalifa Crimes from Wikipedia by the British".
There are other differences between the English and Persian entries. The former is pretty much a straight summary of Josh Shahryar's opinion. The latter --- whether from issues in translations or from mischief --- has notable changes. Shahryar, who is from Afghanistan, is now a "Western researcher". His Twitter message becomes the prompt for bloggers and The Independent of London --- those who actually broke the Bell Pottinger story --- to look into the matter. Perhaps most significantly, the PR firm is portrayed as having acted after getting a green light from the British Government and doing so in co-operation with Wikipedia.
It is that Persian re-writing about "the English company that has a higher power to whitewash clear cases of crimes in the State of Bahrain" that is on the hard-line Raja News, the conservative Jahan News, 2009 Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei's Tabnak, Khadem News, Shia Online, and other websites. EA even makes it to Gerdab, linked to the Revolutionary Guards.